For a long time now I’ve been catching hearts out in the wild. They show up everywhere—in patterns of leaves, in the formation of clouds in the sky, as graffiti on the sides of underpasses. It’s a lot like that Sixth Sense kid, “I see hearts, they’re everywhere!” and sometimes I do whisper in that same creepy little kid voice just for fun. I’ve decided they are my own private cosmic Valentines, postcards for the soul that make me feel counted and seen in this wide world and to remind me that hope, love, compassion, empathy, just softness, really, are the mightiest gifts we can give and receive.
Thanks to the super keen attempt to put an alleged sexual assailant on America’s highest court (like of JUSTICE), this week has not been a ride on a cloud of cushy Charmin.
Walking through the city Wednesday night, dragging my already low mood along with me, I glanced down to see these two hearts set against the dirty pavement.
I snapped a photo and considered the juxtaposition: the black pieces of what looks like bandages slapped onto the sidewalk in a right angle to form a heart with a fragile, “helicopter” tree seed (also known as an “angel wing” seed) resting gently on top. I don’t know if I could have more perfectly captured a visual representation of what I’m feeling these days if I had staged it in a studio. In these times, it seems as if my heart is in some constant demand for triage, for fresh bandaging from the lacerations that never quite heal fully before some fresh trauma pulls them open. Despite these conditions, something tender and thrumming with life force pushes through to make itself known and felt.
Hope, love, compassion, empathy, just softness. No matter the scorched terrain of our heart-selves, these things find a way to grow and blossom.
Recently I wrote about what we’re working through culturally as a frightening, messy, hard lurch forward in our social evolution. I still believe that, though I really wish we could hurry up and montage through this part set against the tune, “Maniac” from Flashdance. As tough as it’s been this week in particular and as nastier as it’s guaranteed to get (and honestly, my liver is not having too much more of this day drinking and swearing at CNN), I don’t believe that the rage and pain and legitimate suffering is in vain. And seeing this the other night made me feel it even more acutely—many of us are weary, broken, and scared and also intensely alive, passionately engaged, and acutely tuned into that most organic, fertile part of ourselves where we keep our angle wing seeds seeking to root, longing to spread.