Beached from Love

by Carolin Messier

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I have hit the limit
of what I thought was limitless.

Once emerged
from a chrysalis, transformed*
free and joyous
through trials and challenges
a tiny, sturdy skiff, I was
ever open-hearted.

Even at my deepest loss,
sunken into grief
I did not contract or pull up oars
but split open
eviscerated, spilling my sorrow
my brokenness, and humanity,
split open
which let in the light
of unexpected kindness and compassion,
split open
to receive the miracle
of pools of unprecedented love
vulnerable, shared, mutual-
imperfectly perfect human love.

But now I’ve hit the limit
of what I thought was limitless.

I believed I had a heart
that was infinitely expansive,
forever buoyant,
a boat at home on placid ponds
built to bear the gales
and lithe enough to navigate
the hidden channel of the heart.
With each crag or dam encountered
its sturdiness was tested
and found ready to face the waves
and the vastness of the sea,
each new love a voyage
and I a ready voyager.

But now I’ve hit the limit
of what I thought was limitless.

For the first time in my life
I’ve headed now for shore
not to rest at moorage
at a cozy dock or cove
but have pitched my oars and rudder
turned my hull against the sky
its scars and scales
out of reach of future tides.
These last beautiful cascades
hid rocks that pierced the strake
has broken its integrity
and compromised its waterline.

I have hit the limit
of what I thought was limitless.

And for the first time
I have retreated
from the quest for love,
unequal to the task.
This quiet, solitary beach
chills and frightens me
more than any exploration
through fog or winding currents
out of sight from shore.
For it is on the waters,
even of a simple pond
that a vessel truly lives.

Because I’ve hit the limit
of what I thought was limitless
and with that I’ve turned my back
against the endless seas.

Photo credit: Jamie Burgoyne, used by permission.

*Referenced from Feline Butterfly