I sit alone in the shelter of the overhanging camellia at the end of the deck. The weak spring sun searches to penetrate my winter coat to bring some vestige of warmth while the keen westerly breeze still manages to twist and tug at my protection.
Perhaps the breeze itself needs to burrow to borrow my meager heat for its own solace. How I would love just for a moment to do the same. I should move closer to the shelter. Then, at least, the constant ache in my breast may take backstage to longing to be with them.
Alone. Always alone, always different, always on the fringe.
Below and around me, the industry of life hums, revolves, competes, and fulfills itself. It has no need of me. Yet without that seemingly perpetual lifebeat, I have nothing to reach for, however feeble my lays.
Feelings of anger, rejection, inadequacy and simple self-pity are surely in order as I recall my once intimate involvement in the mêlée I now look so longingly upon. Did I once have a role in the making of this life? The warmth, the closeness of bodies as they compete fairly for a place to belong, a place to own and to be free.
Freedom from the searching tentacles of cold and doubt sapping what remaining pluck and courage I have struggled to retain, as the west wind seeks to do, as I shelter in my solitude. My days of competing are over. I now ask for permission to feed at the table and sit apart waiting for the reply.
Have I been alone?
The winter has been long. Food and shelter should have been difficult to seek out yet that has not been the case. Encircling canopies of boughs and thickets have surrounded us. Where danger could strike solid bastions have been erected for our security. A banquet has been spread daily in the presence of hardship and fears and a place of danger has become a garden of refuge.
I continue to sit alone. The tugging wind’s bite perpetuates my longing for companionship and food. Yet I must wait for my invitation to join the feast. And I wait with hope knowing there will be a place for me. Not perhaps the seating I was used to or the seating I feel I deserve. But my place is assured as has been my safety and my sustenance.
A quietness descends as the industry of life slows a moment and a time and a space are mine. Deformed and different I may be, but outcast?
If only I knew and could see the love and enfolding spreading out from the keepers of the garden, the providers of the banquet. If only I could realize the joy and hope that this cold and frightened little sparrow gives as he haltingly accepts the place at the table that is his.
And as the sweetened water drips from the dish suspended above in the raspberry canes I know that my cup overfloweth.