Bearing Witness


by Susan Hadden, copyright 2020

I came into my apartment from the basement laundry just now, and was enveloped by the aroma of coffee, the warmth of having preheated the oven, and a generally tidy and very homey little nest in this fourth-floor walk-up. My first feeling was that there was no one with whom to share this cozy experience, to see and smell all I was enjoying. But I am the witness! And that is enough.

Years ago, early in my intense post marriage healing journey, there were some days when the “most” I could do was to walk in a field near my former home and watch insects in flowers. It was holy and they were miraculous. I was aware of being part of an alchemical cycle with them: most obviously that their intelligence was being relayed into my programming via the math I was seeing in flowers and bugs; then coming to realize that it had to be a two-way street, and that these other organisms must be receiving something from me if I am a witness to them. Nature is most efficient when she is reciprocal. I wondered if my singular purpose on the earth was to see and wished I could make a living doing just that. A close friend noted within a couple years of that experience that she felt my role was “to see”, and hearing my desire spoken aloud was deeply affirming. She had seen me, compounding the gift of alchemy.

It’s the alchemy that is important. It is enough that it is happening on this winter morning between me and the apartment spirit that takes good care of me here, my fish who wisely bears his own Piscean witness of me from his antique glass battery case; between me and the aromas, me and the energy of my “things” in tidy order. That alone is a complex world with near infinite alchemical transactions. So I soak this up and feel valid enough that I am here even as no one in my family nor friend circles has any idea of the wonder-filled party I am attending.

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