Back in Hoyleton a friend and I used to wonder at our incredible amount of unfinished conversations. We’d be talking about something, which often led to another topic, so we’d talk about that. A child might come to us needing a drink, so we’d pause the conversation, get the drink, which would usually spark another conversation. We’d start on that and a baby would wake from a nap needing to nurse, so you’d go get the baby and sit down to nurse, which usually led to a conversation on sleep or breastfeeding.
By the time the conversation was over, it was almost like having seven thousand mason jars on the table in front of you with their lids off. There was still so much left in each one of the jars, so much more we could go on and on and on to say, but now it was time for all the lids to go back on. This has to be something like what the kids would feel when told it was time to pick up all their toys that had, during these conversations, filled either one of our living room’s with the obvious evidence children had been there.
As a person in those days, there was something over-the-moon incredible in the oft-absent joy of adult conversation, so much so, that it seems a betrayal of cosmic kindness to include a “but” in this sentence, but–for it would be untrue to not say it–there was also something tragically awful in the arousal of a sleeping soul and awakened desires that could never be satisfied. An emptiness settles in the realization those jars will never be empty. No matter how many hours you have to talk, the time will never be enough.
I don’t want to end on a negative note. Sometimes all you can do is sit with the feeling, give it a name, perhaps a word to express it, and then move on to the next step, another bench beside the lake, with the geese flying over the path of leaves leading home.