Buck emerges from the bedroom and wanders into my study for our morning hug. “How’s it goin’ baby doll?” His greeting is a deep baritone growly purr. I put my coffee cup down and rise for a full body hug. “Great,” I chirp. “I’ve been thinking about cells and selective permeability.” Buck pulls back and gives me one of those “It’s way too early in the morning for this” looks. Then he grins, ruffles the top of my bed-head hair, and wanders off into the kitchen in search of his dubious morning drink of choice, Wyler’s Light Cool Raspberry. Mine is Komodo Dragon dark fresh-ground coffee, black. Pretty hilarious, when you think about it.
Strange as it sounds, I really was thinking about cells and their amazing capacity for selective permeability. Remember the “cells are the building blocks of life” lecture from — what was it — elementary school? Long time ago, anyway. In a feat of massive oversimplification, let’s just say that a healthy cell can exercise an amazing amount of control over what it allows in and what it forces out. This is how a cell maintains its internal equilibrium.
I observe the four-foot wingspan of our magnificent resident red-tail hawk as it darkens the grass in the back yard when he dives from his perch on the peak of our second story roof. The small warm-blooded creature on the ground under the oak tree was not thinking of selective permeability.
In a thirty year marriage, either the individual fortifications were built a long time ago, or the partners have effectively become a permanent zona pellucida. It is wondrously too late for Buck and me. We made a conscious decision after we met that either all the walls were coming down or it wasn’t worth doing. I think it was easier for him. My walls were high, intricately crafted and assembled with Gorilla Glue-laced cement. My organism made the choice to let one other human being all the way in, a decision which made the difference between the authentic life I have lived these past three decades and an alternative life I would rather not consider.
I’ve begun to think of us lately as one giant cell, constantly slamming down the castle door, raising the drawbridge, locking the floodgates, piling up the sandbags, and throwing accumulated flotsam and jetsam out the window so we have time to work on achieving our newest dreams. Even so, we are occasionally swamped by everything out there.
Our internal equilibrium is a joyful zone of light. Whatever comes next, never ever any regrets on this long-running merger of the heart.