Selective Permeability and the Long-Running Love Affair

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.

8 thoughts on “Selective Permeability and the Long-Running Love Affair

  1. I love this essay’s opening scene and its reflective body. Merged cells. What a great metaphor for those of us fortunate enough to have left the war between the sexes so far behind we’ve forgotten its continuance.

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  2. So beautiful. You are certainly blessed — and I must say it’s refreshing to read about someone’s long and happy marriage.

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    1. I’m reminded of Viktor E. Frankl’s comment about aging from Man’s Search for Meaning. “What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that young person has, the future which is in store for him? “No, thank you,” he will think. “Instead of possibilities I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of suffering bravely suffered.” Buck and I have 30 years of reality together; what a gift.

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  3. How fortunate I was to have found my “cell-mate” early in life! Our respective walls were mere facades and my Love has been an expert over the past forty-plus years at maintaining clear access for our souls to touch.

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  4. I think you’ve been pretty permeable about letting others have a glimpse of what you’re thinking and feeling and hoping and dreaming — much more permeable than I have the courage for. We all treasure your ability to let others into you interesting universe.

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    1. Cheapest psychotherapy in the world! I love you, too, David. Hey — I’m coming up on the 10th anniversary of my first blog post! Now that’s astonishing to me.

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