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To count by touching

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When we count with our eyes we stall the heart -  for the eyes can see clearly what is broken without ever feeling the break, and the mind can calculate the loss without ever sewing up the wound. Without touching the life coming apart before us, we can race to rebuild before the wrecked dream ever hits the ground. While this makes us resilient and efficient as ants, it also keeps us from living in what we build.

What makes us precise and efficient can also begin a life of neurosis, not touching what we see, not feeling what we know. This is how the mind skips the heart's step. How we forget that blood on the news is real and that the cry from the street is attached to something living. Such a profound and simple lesson: to count with our hands brings us deeper than all counting, numbers give way to notes and sums give way to song.

But one the hardest blessings to accept about the heart is that in the image of life itself, it will not stop emerging through experience. No matter how we try to preserve or relive what has already happened, the heart will not stop being shaped. The curiousness of life brings me, time and again, to this realisation that - despite my resistance to accept what we've lost is behind us, despite our need at times to stitch wounds closed by reliving them, and despite my heroic efforts to preserve what is precious, despite all my attempts (at times) to stop the flow of life, my heart knows better. I know - at my core - the only way to truly remember or stay whole is to take the best and worst into its tissue.

The heart keeps us going by moving us ever forward, though I walk around thinking I can direct my heart, our hearts are endlessly shaped, like the land, often against our will.

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