I had the privilege of spending this last weekend with just such an individual. In real years she is sixteen, but her soul is old and perceptive and wide and deep. I actually taught her in preschool for a very brief time, which brings to painful attention my own age. I consider her more than a friend, she is family, a niece if a title must be established and I love her dearly. What an inspiring and incredible thing it is to watch a human grow and become themselves. It has been an honor to watch Leah grow into a radiant, kind, sharp, compassionate, brilliant young woman.
We share a love for words and stories, Leah and I. Bookstores and music, movies and old poems. These are the treasures I share with those I love the most. The conversations I most love to indulge in.
So I asked her the other day, if she would be willing to share a scribble with me. If she would be willing to let me post it for my other word loving friends to enjoy. She said yes. So today I would like to share a scribble by the ever so incredible Leah Jarvis, brilliant teenager, beautiful soul and talented wordsmith, a scribble inspired by a conversation on the way home from a movie inspired by a book.
Shadows and cold.
They are what creeps under your skin with rotten fingernails and through your porous bones, a paralysis. They steal your breath and replace only glass-cracked stiffness of the mind and soul.
Shadows and cold and holes.
You fall with the wind at your back only pushing further as it laughs, and then you hit the bottom only to have it crumble out from under you once more. You are swallowed in every sense of the word in the maw of your own helplessness. How freezing is it now, that your limbs aren’t even in agony anymore? There is only exhaustion, except that your heart is racing to catch up with you, to save you. It never makes it. It fails, and again, down you plunge.
But then, suddenly, it doesn’t matter, because there is a warmth that pulls back. Yellow flares up in the cold, and there is a candle flame beating like the heart far behind you. One single candle. Yet the exhaustion lifts, and relief washes like a bath.
The darkness snarls at it, snaps at it, but you are bold now. You laugh.
There is a light now, you say, gathering strength for the words.
The candle flickers dangerously and nearly perishes with a particularly biting gust of wind. Then it returns brighter than ever, renewed by the oxygen.
The darkness is ahead of and behind you. It’s impossible to see when this will end, or if it ever will.
But it doesn’t matter.
There is a light now, and its name is love.