Christmas Day, my husband drove me to the Emergency Room as my howling agony didn’t seem to be a good thing. After more howling and puking, CAT scan etc, it turned out I had a weird-shaped kidney stone that proceeded through six weeks of complications, procedures, unending pain and nausea. I could do nothing, no reading no television no computer, only panting and praying.  When the tide of all of that finally withdrew, it seems to have taken much with it.

still_life_with_tree-640x480I’m hoping a tree will grow out of my submerged house. I’m hoping for pain to become beauty. I’m hoping to write, I’m hoping to work again. When you suddenly fall into the underworld, there is such an extreme separation. In bed, unable to go out, I’d occasionally look out the window and see someone walking their dog or running and it seemed impossibly far away. I’d like to do that, I would think, but it was like looking at the Apollo astronauts floating in space and thinking, I’d like to do that. There seemed to be no path from here to there, no likelihood.

It has turned out in my strange vita that I’ve been to the Underworld many times. The name Pluto means ‘the wealthy one’ and it is true. His kingdom, to which he brought Kore, the Girl, the Spring to rule over as Queen, is not an empty place-or perhaps it is exactly that, a silent empty place where there is no reading no television no computer but only wealthy silence, rich emptiness, expensive void, opulent absence.

When one returns, the insides have been hollowed out, blown up, dilated, gutted. The soul luxuriates in the mansion’s expansion. The Underworld is natural to the soul, the soul’s immortal country, so it is refreshed there. Even if tormented, it is home.

The photograph is a work by artist Cornelia Konrads. Wonderful.

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