Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The precipice

I have a neighbor who's an arborist. He trims trees. Where we live, that often means trimming redwoods: towering, pointy evergreens hundreds of years old and stories high. He anchors himself to the redwood with a spare-looking rope harness and, at the swaying top, watches sawn-off boughs plummet through space.

I used to think he had the most terrifying job of anyone I knew. Now, watching my baby sleep, I envy my neighbor the logical ease of his work. Loving someone this much makes no sense at all. It is the most dizzying, the most precipitous, the riskiest work possible to undertake. It is work never laid down. If we knew what we were beginning, how every breath would become a prayer, how every thought forever would be flavored with the burningly, burstingly sweet savor of this love, would we still take it up?

We would and we do because love is every person's calling. It is wonderful and horrible. It is more than any human ought to be able to bear. It is what keeps us moving forward. It is the highest height, a narrow ledge from which one might fall so far and so fast that falling is unthinkable. But the view from here is breathtaking.

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