What Tears May Come

“What Tears May Come” – mixed media on canvas paper – 11 x 14″

“Sometimes, the only way to experience the journey fully

is to learn what the journey has to teach you.”

Lately, I feel like I’ve been swimming in a sea of Hope. Angst. Curiosity. Confusion. Sorrow… An alphabet soup of emotions that flow full of these times when my beloved and I wait to receive our first vaccination in 10 days mixed with the wonderment of what that could mean… How will things change? Will they change? Will I be different? Will the world feel safe?

I have learned a lot, grown a lot, experienced a lot throughout this past year of sequestered solitude. All of it is, as Ram Dass called it, “grist for the mill”.

Over the past two days, awash in that sea of alphabet emotions, I worked on the painting above. I had actually started it many months ago and set it aside – or at least the background part which had a heart on it which I really liked but wasn’t sure if I wanted to do more with it.

The background was in a pile I keep for those moments when I want to explore but have no clear starting point or idea of what I want to do. When I pulled it out, I set it beside an alcohol ink background that was waiting to be cut up and made into bookmarks.

“Ha! Why not sew flowers on the alcohol ink background, cut them up and collage them onto the other background?” a voice inside whispered. I’m not sure if it was the muse or the critter testing my resolve to let go of thinking some pieces I’d created were ‘precious’ or the inner voice of wisdom urging me to just be present in the process.

And then the voice said, “And while you’re at it, why not cut the heart out of the original background so you can affix it over the flowers?”

Whoever it was, I decided to heed them. I cut out the heart (Ouch. That was not easy!) I pulled out my sewing machine and got to work sewing flower shapes onto the Yupo paper (it’s a synthetic paper used with alcohol inks).

I liked the look of the flowers and began affixing them to the background with a gel medium.

And that’s when the yucky-messy ‘oh no what have I done’ happened.

See. Alcohol ink is not permanent unless you spray it with a fixative. I hadn’t done that. Suddenly the colours and patterns I’d liked so much began to bleed and blend and fade and mix and just get kind of all yucky. Okay. A lot yucky.

I wanted to throw the whole thing out but I’m also very stubborn.

So I kept digging in.

Two days later the piece is a testament to so much of what the past year has taught me.

Stay present in the process. Be here now. Be patient. Be curious. Be persistent. Let go of expectations. Let go of perfection. Don’t give up. Dive in. Keep going.

Teachings from the studio during a global pandemic

And then….

When I opened my laptop to work on the quote, I also stumbled across a poem I’d started awhile ago that I’d set aside. (Does anyone else have umpteen WORD documents left opened on their computer? Hmmm… I do and it’s always a lovely surprise to discover what I’ve started and not finished – okay so maybe ‘lovely’ isn’t the word but I’m going with it)

Anyway, I wrote the quote onto the painting and then started working on the poem that also represents so much of what this past year has taught me.

Don’t give up.

Dive in.

Keep going.

What Tears May Come
©2021 Louise Gallagher

There are moments when
the tears I fear
to shed
wallow in the spaces
behind all that I cannot see
in the world beyond my front door
as I sit feeling
eyes closed
to hold back
the tears
I dare not release
for fear they will flow like the river
never ending.

In those moments
I must swallow
the lump
of fear
jammed up against
the worry
pounding at the roots
of my angst
squaring off
thoughts threatening
to riot
amidst the litany
of all that has happened
all that has gone on
all that is lost and discarded
and missing
in these days
of being cut off
from the way things were
before the pandemic
rolled in
and declared its presence
on the other side
of front doors
slammed shut
against its entry.

In those moments
I must remind myself
that one year is but a moment
in time’s great expanse
spanning all of life
with its threads of wonder
and awe and beauty
whether I sit behind
closed doors
or walk the forest paths
along the river
waiting for the time
when it is safe
to open the front door
and let go of fear.

Perhaps, as the river flows
and the seasons change
and this tiny microbe loses
its power over hearts
and lungs
my tears will flow free
without fear
of never ending.

14 thoughts on “What Tears May Come

  1. The river flows, sometimes a flood, sometimes a trickle… and as life flows along the winding river banks, we learn to cope with the rivers hidden snags…

    “How many rivers of tears must we cry
    Before all the deepest wells run dry”

    “Dry Eyes

    Life’s a green mirage
    A shimmering oasis
    Of dry crying eyes”

    Liked by 1 person

    • “She was born from the fire” oooohhh.. That song is sublime Ivor.
      And yes, the river flows — currently, it is breaking free of the ice that has lain upon its surface throughout the winter. And spring will come and again the summer and then the fall, and life will keep flowing with the river.

      Thank you my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was talking with a friend yesterday – he was afloat on good feelings; he’d had his jab the day before and was feeling euphoric. He reported that those in the lounge (they keep you there for a while after the shot to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction) were similarly ebullient. I observed, and he agreed, that after a year of ‘control’ of everything about covid has been in the hands/mishandling of governments, doctors, and big-pharma – that now, finally, we’ll have a small (though huge!) amount of control – choosing to get our jab once it is available. It’s a small thing and a HUGE thing. I’m waiting on the edge of my seat till the 17th – that’s the date I’m eligible to book my shot …

    Nice poem … though I think I would move the last stanza up to the front – to set the stage for what follows.




    • Have you tried calling the pharmacy Mark? I called the Superstore pharmacy near us and they are booking seniors — as are other pharmacies throughout the city.

      and yes… ebulliance. hope. joy. possibility…. so tantalizingly close. ❤


      • I’m not THAT old! … and I’m not ‘compromised’, so starting the 15th we 69-ers are able to book via the AHS site. My understanding is that is the earliest … so I’ll get in line and take my turn


  3. I appreciate your reflection and the amazing coincidence of sharing a poem with the same beginning words on the same day.
    I feel that there is so much we can learn and are learning from the pandemic experience. How to feel what needs to be felt so that I can move forward is a big one for me. I am getting better at it all the time.
    I appreciate that you are looking for opportunities to learn and grow. You are taking them all and creating with them and sharing them. Well done!
    This is the part of your poem I want to reflect back to you,
    “one year is but a moment
    in time’s great expanse
    spanning all of life
    with its threads of wonder
    and awe and beauty
    whether I sit behind
    closed doors
    or walk the forest paths”
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful words.


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