Tag Archives: life
As she waited to hear back from the hospital she found herself thinking about her brother’s bedroom – magical, mysterious, and strictly off limits unless she knocked and received permission to enter. A rare treat that he gave only when she promised not to ask too many questions….
“Brucie, what’s this?” she asked, fingering a fishhook from the tin box on her brother’s workbench.
“Put it down. If that gets stuck in your thumb, I’ll have to push it all the way through and you’ll cry like a girl.”
She examined the sharp point and barb, then dropped the hook and picked up another one. “What’s it for?”
“Fly fishing.” Her brother set a small hook in the workbench clamp. Taking two scarlet feather fronds from a cardboard container he placed them against the hook and spiraled golden silk thread round and round the ends, flush to the base of the curved steel, transforming the hook into an alluring winged insect.
“Wow, that’s pretty. What do you do with it?”
“You tie it on your rod like this…” Retrieving a spool from his tackle box, Bruce threaded nylon through the fishhook loop, then tied a knot and cut the line in one deft movement. He tossed the hook into the air and flicked the line back and forth. Light from his workbench lamp glinted against the shimmering gold and scarlet.
She forgot it was merely feather and steel and sat mesmerized by the dancing insect that responded to her brother’s hand.
“When this lure strikes the water,” he said, “the trout thinks Supper! He leaps to the surface, gulps the insect, and snap!” Bruce jerked his wrist. “That’s when the fish becomes my supper,” he said with a laugh.
~ * ~
It was the jangling telephone that dragged her back to the here and now. After the call she sat in stunned silence. “He’s gone,” was all her sister could say.
She imagined the neurosurgeon tying silk stitches, closing the hole where the tumor had been. The surgeon’s thread was shimmering gold.
At the corner of her vision, something flickered past the window drawing her attention outside. There an incredibly beautiful, scarlet dragonfly danced in the morning sun.
“Hi Bruce,” she whispered. “How did you do that?”
At Keystone Café, the radio plays
and words of a song from the sixties pierce my coffee-bred thoughts:
Always something there to remind me…
Trying to forget, I know this world is but a dream
a temporary mirror of the other
that place where you and I reside in eternity
mere cells within the One Great Plan
where time has no meaning
and words don’t exist
and love is a given
Yet here, amongst dog rose and lupin
she, open and pink
and he, closed and blue
we became like them – rooted in sand
surrounded by stones and their stories
drinking summer grey mists
on salt water taffy mornings
but rose petals fade and lupins shrivel
their seedpods of black
hanging like coffins
in this moment
eagle perches for the view
and fish dance
and gulls dive for the feast
this is mine
All the while
the ferry inhales and exhales passengers
like a heart-lung machine
a blood bank of journeys
a breaker of waves that crosses the synaptic sea
and, locked into terminal, transmits
holders of keys to neurons
In bursts of energy
flowing down rivers of roads
streams of pulsing potential
these elements of the greater intelligence
try to carry its message
this for the arms that yearn to hold
that for the aching walk-alone legs
and yesterday’s broken dream becomes
one Sunday transformed
A poem is born in words that don’t rhyme
as the radio plays another song:
Can’t you hear the pounding of my heartbeat,
You’re the one I love…
Holding the mirror close, all I see is my own breath
and waves that drill the shore in a tumbling roll
while the ocean remains constant
and eagle takes flight
Through the insanity of “flow” fixed stones of words grow, grounded in clay, slate and molten glass, grass, roots of earth, hearth of sun, mantle of river where water tumbles, crashes over edges like minds of poets and women who sit beside windows and touch across miles and oceans…
and smile because they know they come from the same strain of imagination, rained upon by years of struggle, laughter, tears, fears, and playing with saying words, caring not about madness but only seeking those moments of divinity where life begins and ends in a flash of recognition…
realizing death is just a breath inspired, a change of the woven pattern from knit to purl from water to gas, moving here from air to there where a thought or a prayer pulls Form out of nothing and starts all over again…
My friend, Sebastian, told me in one of our discussions, that he uses his imminent death as a barricade – a shield.
How so? I asked. Please explain.
Sebastian said that it wasn’t until he knew he that he could die – and, in fact, was dying – that he began to live. The pettiness, annoyances and inconveniences that plague us all; these, he thinks of as arrows, and he bounces them off his barricade shield. Death protects him therefore, encouraging him to grasp instead the positive gifts of kindness, compassion, generosity and time – precious time – given to him by the people he calls his angels – nurses, hospice staff, visitors, student volunteers and friends who didn’t say, “I’m sorry to hear,” and then stayed away in fear or helplessness, but who came to sit, watch, listen, laugh and cry, and who placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, or gently stroked his cheek when it all seemed too overwhelming. For these precious things, the barricade shield comes down and the love of angels goes pouring in.
Researchers in gerontology and social sciences have reported that, unlike younger generations, people in their senior years, have a greater tendency to avoid things that disturb, and they tend to focus much more on positive, happy and comforting people, things, situations and environments. Perhaps seniors, approaching the end of their life, feel more vulnerable, or powerless to change the big negatives. Maybe years of life-experience have proven at some unconscious level, that what they focus on, is what expands. Why waste precious energy on people, places and situations that drain them, frighten them and make them feel uncomfortable? It’s understandable.
In my youth, I was always ready to join the fight against establishment and injustice, actively working to make things better, to change people’s attitudes and behaviors, including my own. Yet now, in my sixth decade of life, I sit here horrified by what I see, but do nothing. Oil gushes through the ocean like an arterial disaster; armies of trucks carry deadly chemicals across our country – liquids that are pumped down holes bored deep into the earth, poisoning rivers, land, animals and people – killing America; all this for the sake of fuel for our cars and factories, and for ‘clean’ natural gas for electricity; for corporate profits that allow people to retire in their senior years, live off dividends, and drive their houses-on-wheels until they’re too old or too sick to discover America anymore.
I acknowledge my deplorable lack of action to fight our current attitudes of profit-priority, mindless greed and acceptance of earth-rape. I admit that now in my older years, I lack the passion, energy and naivety of youth to believe that I can do anything to change this world. As the earth bursts and bleeds, casting arrows of blame, I raise my own barrier shield of senior age against it, and I look away. I focus instead on using what time I have left for enjoying the beauty around me; for kindness, empathy, humor, patience and compassion.
Today, as I sought to focus on those positive things, my comfort was torn, shattered in shame. No shield – no barrier – not even death – could spare the cold realization, that the place where I find the most beauty – the most comfort and peace – is right here, in my grandchildren’s faces – in all of our grandchildren’s faces.
My barrier is breached. My shield lies broken, crushed on the truth-flooded floor, staining it with a desire to stand up and do something…
Does your tap water ignite? Gasland is an urgent, cautionary and sometimes darkly comic look at the largest domestic natural gas drilling campaign in history. Part of the HBO Documentary Films Series. WATCH: Gasland: Trailer http://www.hbo.com