Saturday, May 07, 2005

left behind

Goodbye can be hard, especially when it carries the air of finality, and i thought this was going to be tough.


The rings were made by a craftswoman in Port Townsend, Washington back in 1990 or 1991 (I believe her name was Kathy Jenks). Amy had accompanied me on a business trip to Seattle and we went to the Olympic Penninsula after the business (a trade show) ended. I had been to Port Townsend before, knew it to be quaint and romantic, and looked forward to being there with Amy.

We admired a ring in a little jewelry shop, and unknown to me, she circled back and ordered two of them to be made. A combination of gold and silver, handcrafted, with little etchings of sea birds, they became our wedding rings.

As many of you know, Amy and my marriage was never a strong one, and ended in divorce last year. For me, the divorce came quickly on the heels of two emotional setbacks, the loss of my job/career in the bust, and the passing of my mother. The breakup of the marriage and family was difficult, i was already hurting, and it knocked me down emotionally for quite awhile.

But night turns to day and, if we're paying attention, healing occurs. Suffering *can* lead to grace, family and friends lend love and support, people enter our lives and show us that true love really is possible (!!), and we emerge stronger. And while the pain and disappointment of past events remains, over time the hurt comes less often and doesn't reach as deeply.

I brought my wedding ring with me to india, knowing that somewhere along the way I would find the proper place to leave it behind, representing to me some kind of symbolic end of the marriage. Although the marriage officially ended in court last year, to me the rings transcended the legalities, and as long as i had the ring in my possession i felt there was still some unfinished "closure" business to be done.

So the ring has been on my mind. I first thought about droping it in the Ganges at Varanasi, but the water was too dirty. I also thought about leaving it somewhere along the trek into the Nepal Himalaya, but just did not find a place or time that seemed right.

Today I woke early and after puja at the Buddhist temple, walked up the ridge to the peaceful little town of Bhagsunag. It is a place I've frequently gone to while in Dharamshala, far from the "scene" it is very quiet and beautiful. Many people go there to practice yoga.

There's a waterfall in the hills above Bhagsunag and I went to the water this morning with the intention of throwing the ring into the deep pool that's been formed at the bottom of the water's highest fall.

It was a long hot uphill walk, and it was heavy with purpose. For two years I'd wondered what to do with the ring, not having done anything because nothing seemed right. I knew this morning the time had come. I no longer wanted the ring in my possession. For much of the walk i was lost in thoughts/memories.

After arriving at the waterfall's pool, i sat on a rock and, after reflection, pulled the ring from my pocket. but i decided the water was too turbulent, there was too much "crash" and noise . . . so i put the ring back and hiked further downstream. (I had worn this ring for a long time, it symbolized people and events that had been very dear and significant, and i wanted to find the best place for it to rest.)

Before long I came upon a calm pool of water, with water both flowing in over a rock ledge and then down and out through some crevices . . . it was a calm, clear, serene pool with just a little bit of water movement, the sun glistened in its gentle ripples . . . it looked and felt right. I kneeled over and removed a few submerged rocks from along the edge of the pool, pulled the ring from my pocket, gave it a little kiss, and placed it in the water. I then replaced the rocks around it, got up and walked away.

I thought this was going to be some kind of very emotional "goodbye" but truth is it was simple and easy and just felt good. There was no "heavy" attached to it. I guess sometimes the things we imagine will be hopelessly difficult happen easily because the time is right.

I don't know what's happened to the other ring, the one in Amy's possession . . . but there's something cleansing in the knowledge that my half of our pair of wedding rings -- forged in a little town on the Olympic Penninsula, symbolizing dreams that just weren't to be -- has been securely tucked away at the bottom of a cold running stream in the spectacularly beautiful Himalaya of northern India.

I think when I am home and remember that ring, my thoughts will, for the first time in a long while, be accompanied by the beginnings of a smile.