Four short reflections on vulnerability: one.

I’ve taken myself off to one of the most beautiful places I can imagine, for a self-directed writer’s retreat. This is pure indulgence for me. I am essentially out of communication: no Facebook, few emails; I’m even missing out on a rehearsal tomorrow night. It’s this introvert’s idea of heaven: beauty, and quiet time, and writing time, and over the course of the day I have said maybe twenty words. Most of these concerned my breakfast and dinner orders. I’ve sat at the top of a rolling hill and watched a small flock of kangaroos go about their business; I’ve watched a wagtail dart in a stunning display of agility and virtuosity to catch probably the biggest moth I have ever seen. And all day, I’ve been writing.

I found myself writing – I’m not quite sure why – about vulnerability. I do a lot of thinking, and it is something that’s been in my thoughts lately. And sitting at the top of my hill, looking out over pastoral perfection, vulnerability was what my pen decided it was time to explore.

“From where I sit I can see kangaroos in the distance. Their fragility despite their strength. Vulnerable to so much: drought, bushfire, flood. The vicissitudes of the humans who control the lands on which they rely. Even the rain which must soak through the coarseness of their fur; the sun which beats them; even the midges and fleas which live on their flesh and feast on their blood. It doesn’t take much top snuff out a life, even one as strong as one of these muscular, powerful animals. Like the candle flame starved of oxygen, a gradual fading of its spark, its life force. Or the vulnerability of a flower. So easily crushed underfoot. The petals, the nectary heart, destroyed in a careless instant. Whatever life could have been sustained, too, by that flower, that tiny source of sustenance and sweetness and beauty, must now find succour elsewhere. Even the trees here are defenceless. Such strength in wood and water and foliage, such quiet endurance, such slow silent wisdom which dwells in those sheltering, sustaining branches – and yet, one man with a chainsaw can end the aboreal life  which has stood so solidly, sometimes for centuries, overlooking the constant movement of the tiny human lives which pass beneath it. Or the grass, the water in the glassy, rain-fed dams, even the very earth on which and in which all of these things have their being – their fragility astounds me. And yet, we’re so rarely aware of it.”

I didn’t expect a ten-minute writing exercise – essentially a warm-up before I got into my “real” work – to take me into exploring a topic of which I’m slightly shamefully afraid. I blame my pen.


7 thoughts on “Four short reflections on vulnerability: one.

  1. That was really me! I hit something in the process of changing names from Faith to Garnet: so there you have it “Garohonson”.

  2. Oh boy I did put a comment on which ended up with the name of Garohonson but it’s not there now!
    What I said was along the line of “pens will do that to you unless you keep them under control”. So now you can read what was said and try to make sense of it all.

  3. Exquisite description which draws the reader into the scene. Your writing has drawn people into your life – and we keep wanting to read, to understand, but not in a voyeuristic manner. You can risk expressing your inner life because you trust us as the readers. Hopefully you are learning to trust yourself and accept yourself. That is a hard journey for you after trust was destroyed in a relationship that should have been the most trustworthy of all. Your family, friends and readers are part of a trusted circle around you. We believe in you. We believe you are reclaiming your life. We believe you are claiming a new life for yourself which will be on your terms – and God’s.

  4. I like replying after Lynette, because her responses are always so profound and put into words thoughts that I am still grappling with to get them into words. I agree with all that she has said … we DO believe in you … and there is nothing to be ashamed/afraid about … after all, God made himself vulnerable – so you are in good company.

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