… is excruciating. watching one another stumble and have anvils dropped from above. any of us makes a fine target for whatever causes things to fall and break. bones break, hearts and minds. we heal and scar and favor the pink flesh– and sometimes we poke at it, repeatedly, to remember we are alive.

it is terrible to watch our parents wither before us– and surely unimaginably worse to look on our childrens’ wounds and misalignments. we grow crooked against adversity, or out of sheer perversity, we bend, we knot, we grow onward. our shape defines itself against an indomitable wind or wall. we wear out, run down, expire. there is dread in the undoing, in the unknowing– vulnerability in the face of– what? vulnerability itself, not even knowing. or only half-knowing. suspecting and second-guessing ourselves in circles, routines of preparation, edifices against the softness of the belly.

6 Replies to “vulnerability”

  1. "we bend, we knot, we grow onward"
    We all have our twists and turns, growths and stoppages; we all have been broken, only to have healed once more. A baby's mind might be straight and untrodden on, but as soon as it begins to live and to respond, that mind becomes a path disfigured with footsteps, construction sites and accidents. Life can be a bizarre architect.

  2. Fortunately, my parents are both pretty healthy for their age. My immediate family is all well, too, though lately I've had these spontaneous moments of anxiety when I force myself to contemplate how vulnerable we all are: what, really, is keeping any of us from being smeared across the pavement by a car running a stop sign? Not much.When my son was an infant, he had "reactive airways," which is essentially the same as asthma. Whenever he had trouble breathing, we treated him with albuterol in a nebulizer. Once we attended a wedding at a retreat center and he began wheezing, so we headed back to our cabin. It was a bit of a walk, though, and by the time we had everything set up, he was having real trouble getting air. Even after beginning the treatment, he kept getting worse and at one point, stopped breathing. With some panicked coaxing, he started again after a few seconds. I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling I had in those moments; they're what define vulnerability for me.

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