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The prompt for this writing was the poem “Want” by Carrie Fountain. Read the whole poem here.

These lines were part of my reflection:

“this
is the heart’s constant
project: this simple
learning; learning
how to hold
hopelessness
and hope together;”

As I was sitting outside at the beach house on a recent Saturday morning, I became aware of some motion at an arched window above the deck’s open space. It was breezy, unseasonably warm. The wind was blowing the present weather out, but some of us remained to bask in this unexpected reprieve from gray November.

Wasps gathered at the top of the arched window, all together a dark irregular smudge that moved in increments only as they nudged closer together and closer toward the top of the glass. Wasps at the bottom of the window climbed slowly up toward their brethren at the top. Why didn’t they just fly, swooping as they would in warmer days? They looked so weary. 

FullSizeRenderYet they climbed on, sometimes seeming to scoot up a little, holding fast against the buffeting wind, then continuing their slow journeys upward. Like the wasp Carrie Fountain wrote about in her poem, they “seemed not to move while moving.”

Talk about a glass ceiling. They hit one. None of them seemed able or willing to fly to the open air side where they might have release but also the beginnings of a cold rain. 

Perhaps it was for shelter and the hope of survival that they moved upward, or perhaps they knew their demise was near and they huddled together with others to preserve whatever warmth remained.

Did they imagine escape or comfort? Spits of rain began to spot the glass, and I moved inside the house.

Windows in my life sometimes separate me from the outside harshness but they also allow the light in: “There is a crack, a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in,” Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” says. 

As December seeps in with the cold rain and longheld griefs, I am looking for those cracks and trying to balance hopelessness and hope again.

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