It’s a certain kind of morning: damp but not wet, cold but not the kind that sits in your bones, dreary without the hope of sun but the optimism of spring still, somehow, tangible.


A certain kind of grey: the sky an impenetrable iron shield, ash-white and filling the skyscraper horizon. The sort which makes me glad to be where I am, curled in the corner of a Starbucks with books and friends and, mostly, time.

Melancholy is a familiar friend, for me at least, and I’m brimming with it this day. This Edith Wharton quote, which has been bumping about my head for weeks, seems an apt description of life recently:

“…the frail audacious permanence of a bird’s nest built on the edge of a cliff.”

But this, I suppose, is always the state of affairs, acknowledged or not. Our plans and plots are always walking the razor’s edge of success. They are substantial, real, these hopes that we see with the clarity of a bird on the wing, silhouetted in stark contrast against a slate-grey sky. But these hopes, they are fleeting, insubstantial, apt to evaporate as we claw the air.

This, I think, is the lesson of this last year in my life–and it’s a hard one. That my hands, knuckles white and fists clenched, cannot always ensure the completion of my plans. That life, in many ways, is lived on the edge of a cliff. Unpredictable. Scary. Exhilarating.

And that, itself, is the beauty of this life. My hope rests in the assurance that I am not the author. That I don’t bear ultimate responsibility for arranging twigs into an impenetrable nest. That someone else is the protector of this abode on the edge of a cliff.

What an audacious hope.

5 Comments on “Grey”

  1. Haley says:

    love this. and you. thanks for sharing friend!

  2. Anne Marie says:

    Beth, I love this post so much. Thanks for sharing your heart

  3. Erika says:

    I am thankful for audacious hope and I’m thankful for you. Please keep sharing.

  4. Melissa says:

    To quote Octavia Spencer in Never Been Kissed: “Damn, girl, you are a writer.”
    True gift, my friend.

  5. jane says:

    this was a delight to read. honest and beautifully languaged, I love all the investigations of what kind of grey, what kind of damp . this is a spiritual piece about trust that you dont have to bear full responsibility for arranging the twigs. thank you for posting.

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