Life is not a waiting space for something else, it is the something else! (Imagine waiting for death to take you somewhere only to find you’ve been dead all along.) I realize that I will one day end up in a bucket, charnel (I flatter myself) or gas house (I was in a morgue this summer and saw such buckets up close, all of which were entirely unglamorous). What list should I take with me to such a place or bucket? Stay active and keep moving? I can run, walk, shuffle along but inertia will eventually find me (the word even sounds sinister: inert, the very definition of dead). My task is to resist this finality as long as possible by joining the movement of the living. Perhaps I should dance more, boogie more, get moving more with my young, strong sons outside on bikes and boards and flying machines as we chase down the summer’s sun, the winter’s deep freeze or the browning of every autumn in a pursuit of that fabled eternal spring.
Those ahead in the line tell me that the brain gets tired and lazy, too. I always wanted to learn Spanish well enough to let native speakers here in the US know how deeply I admire the sacrifices they’ve made to be here. It’s also the language of my place of origin, coming as I do from a region soaked in Latino breezes. I am grateful for this and long to return to that womb of who I once was. The humor that my innocent and inappropriate semantic stumbling might birth would be to the delight of many. My soul needs such humility lest I think myself as finally too good for this grand ball of twirling fire and ice.
I am in the Generativity age-space that Erikson wrote about, the arch downward that Jung spoke of. It is now that I long to give back, yet my spirit is restless and burdened by my inability to present such an effect. I did not hoard the strength and spoils of my youth but gave these things away, sometimes to the undeserving, but always with good intent. I am saddened, though, that I didn’t save more of past material riches so that now I could have more to give away. You say, “Well, you have your wits about you and a measure of integrity and at least you have yourself to give, right?” Yes, and …no. To me, any real gift-giving involves the giving in some measure of ones sincere attention to another along with something tangible. I know it's skewed, but somewhere along the way I got the idea that giving is authentic only when it also includes the discarding of something you can touch with your fingers -something of value to the giver, however small- released from one tight grasp into the open palm of another. The gift of time to share is all many of us possess but imagine how incomplete, how small, people like me feel, gifting the one without the other when all we want to do is bless the hands of another with hope, as well as their heart.
Here’s a little poem I wrote recently which is my way of saying thank you to any and all who have graced my enlarging life up to and including the present moment. There is always 'plenty of time to do it all,' or at least to do what good you find in your hand to do. Problems? Dissatisfactions? Pain? Yes, all of the above, or as the late comedienne Gilda Radner used to say, "It's always something."** But we need not wander and grieve by ourselves. It is together that we can make a good way better in this line dance of life and death. Besides, in this long, loopy dream across the sky, why dance alone?
The Goodness of Things
What I know deep down
in this hollowed out, hallow place:
that death is just a hole in the ground,
a scattering of ashes,
a wailing in a windstorm.
But Life is a raucous thing,
a fox by the tail rumble,
fought in the quiet and the loud,
by the subtle and the shrewd,
the racy and the holy!
In the flight of the firefly,
in the last tasting of dirt,
in a chorus of mono-moans,
in birth kisses and death missives,
I see the goodness of things.
|It seems like just yesterday that I woke up -and got married!|
*This phrase is from the Wendell Berry poem, The Peace of Wild Things. https://vimeo.com/99893181
**It's Always Something by Gilda Radner. http://a.co/1xTZlgw