The Avalanche of the Soul

Sometimes life gets too hard, too sharp and prickly and overwhelming, to think about in simple terms. We slip sideways into a world where words mean different things than they seem to. This is the world where our good friends Poetry and Metaphor reside. They make it easier to talk about the hard things. The I-want-to-pretend-this-isn't-happening things, and the if-I-use-pretty-words-my-life-doesn't-seem-so-ugly things.
Lately, my favourite metaphor is that my life has become an emotional avalanche I am oh so desperately trying to outrace. The thundering power of it vibrates up through the soles of my feet. I can feel the whisper of cold against the back of my neck and the whoosh of its crashing behind me.
Any moment now I might trip, succumb, and be buried by it. Some days, everything suddenly become too much, too much, and I'm not sure I can find breath enough to run with anymore. But then my thoughts shine with the memory of things forgotten. Things that slow the avalanche or that somehow speed my desperate race. Things that give me new strength, new hope, new perspective.
Except none of those things are things, and all of those things are people.
And I don't think they know. I try to find words to tell them with, but I don't know that I can ever find the right way to say, "YOU ARE SAVING ME. I was running and I was falling and the crashing of the ice and snow was about to bury me, but then you pulled me from the avalanche's path and made a safe place for me to rest for a while."
There's no easy, not-scare-the-hell-out-of-someone way to let them know how a simple kindness saved you. Because you can't tell them how endangered you felt before they swooped in, you can't tell them how serious it was, without maybe losing them. Because if they know how loud the crashing in your mind gets sometimes, they might run from your avalanche too.
And so I smile, and I pretend things are very, very quiet inside me, and pretend to a sort of normalcy I know I have no right to. Except with the most dear of my dear ones, the ones who've let me hear the crashing inside their souls too. With them I can be the best and truest sort of noisy. With them I can run, hand clasped in theirs as we outrace our avalanches together.
This is a version of love, a metaphor that renders all the others pale and distant. So much of my life has become a searching and a finding of people I can love and trust enough to outrace avalanches with. These are the ones who save me, and then let me save them back.
And nothing slows the avalanche more than being allowed to matter that much.


  1. This is lovely. I'm so glad people have been there at the right time for you. Also, I think you should consider submitting a guest post like this to Segullah. :)

  2. Thank you for sharing such a raw and real beauty. You are an amazing person.

  3. What a powerful image...and truth!

  4. While I know I am not one of those people who have helped you outrun your avalanches (and I'm sorry about that!), I am so very grateful that there ARE people who have.
    Also? (And, forgive me if I stumble over how I want to say this!) The words in this post have come together in such a way that leaves a quiet feeling of magic about them . . . almost like stepping outside your door in time to see the first glimpses of sunrise. You have become a magician with your words, m'dear . . . Being a writer suits you very well! :)