Between Death and Life

March is the Month of Expectation.

Duo Dickinson / 3.14.23

March is the Month of Expectation.
The things we do not know —
The Persons of prognostication
Are coming now —
We try to show becoming firmness —
But pompous Joy
Betrays us, as his first Betrothal
Betrays a Boy.

– Emily Dickinson

With our hopes and weather in different places, March was and is not yet. We, I, am not good at much beyond emotions and knowledge. We have a foot in how we feel, and the other in what we know, while the connection between the two, our entire corpus, is the understanding of what happens long after we feel and learn.

The perpetual “Not Yet” of living is a kind of arrival that seek to have arrived, but the next month is always in front of you. Until it is not.

Upon her death from Bright’s Disease (kidney failure), Emily Dickinson’s last words, written to her sister, were “I must go in, the fog is rising.” Her life spent apprehending a world from which she absented herself became an invitation at the end of life, here. Dickinson dimly saw something only ahead of here — there was no winter, just spring. Her expectation then became ours, as she went where we could not be with her.

I feel with her, despite 150 years of distance, because Dickinson’s words were left to us. But we are in a perpetual March, where expectation in the way of every life lives. We cannot be fully in the spring, because one foot lives in history, and we push off it, while the other foot of hope swings forward, with no understanding of the future. But our feet are us, both of them, then, now, the future.

So March is us, me. The facility to know, really know, these things of now make science, politics, art, and music such powerful promises of capacity and worth. We did not make ourselves, this world or anything, except for our ability to know the realities we can see.

So in all our capacity, we live in expectation, knowing full well that we do not know very much.

The things we do not know —
The Persons of prognostication
Are coming now —
We try to show becoming firmness —

Spring does come. Our winters end. But inevitability is not understanding, or even faith beyond inevitability. To the point that any March is wholly, completely unable to know the spring before it.

But on this edge, where the mists are clearing, coping can be in hope. Every thing copes. The starving rabbit in a frozen world. The sleeping queen bee in a winter hive. You, now.

So we sometimes triumph, and for a moment think we understand — until the gift of understanding reveals that we do not know beyond each hope, fulfilled or ended.

We try to show becoming firmness —
But pompous Joy
Betrays us, as his first Betrothal
Betrays a Boy.

We are betrothed of the God who made all of this — including the mists that he made. All we can do is try to understand what we cannot see. Were it not for scripture and history, I would damn to torpedoes of meaning and just do what made me feel good about myself, revel in the end of winter, jump into the delights of doing what feels good, because, well, it feels good — like the first day of 60F sun.

But two thousand years ago, that matrix of law became human. Somehow, Jesus was given to us, too. A Rosetta Stone in March, knowing what we cannot, but living in us. Unable to understand being forsaken, unable to forgive, and knowing what is so very hard to accept, that the mists of March always become spring. Spring is not just temperature and the drying of the mud: spring is life itself: the death of winter becomes “the pompous joy that betrays us.” But spring is life itself. Ecstatic, resurgent greening of hope in the realization of irrepressible life.

But that life is not just the biological realities of increasing temperature and light. Life is the media of God. Because all of life itself, us, the mists, the failures, the poems, all of it, was given to us — including the hints of March, more expectation than understood.

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COMMENTS


One response to “Between Death and Life”

  1. Irina Sidorenko says:

    Dear Duo, for me March to say sorry

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