Sunday, November 21, 2010

Allegro or Largo

In the olde days, "without a moment to spare" implied that something had happened just in the nick of time. It now means that everyone is so busy that a wound has to be potentially fatal before it gets the emergency room doctor's attention, and then, the life can be saved in the nick of time. Someone actually sat in the emergency room waiting area and died from a stabbing wound. The last words they heard?
"Sir! We all think our "emergency" is the most important one. The doctor will be with you shortly."
Sometimes it's not as blatantly obvious that the needs of humanity are blurring into the background. Sometimes the things that we don't have time for are things that really are important, maybe not life threatening but unbelievably worthwhile, given their moment. Someone recently told me they are biding their time, hating their job, until they can retire... oh wait, that was me, but as I watched a large redheaded woodpecker out the window this morning, working so hard to find what it needed to survive, I thought of how comforting and wonderful the nurses were for my Grandma after her stroke last week. Next, I thought how offensive it is to just exist when there are people who need others to help them and still others who dedicate their lives to providing this help.
I checked my investments and did a little calculating to decide when I'll be able to move on to retirement and ...and what? Waiting to die? Sometimes I have a hard time seeing the whole scope of things, and when my view involuntarily expands to include a larger part of the world around me, it's pretty scary how shallow my existence is. Perhaps there's something that can be done about it. Sometimes facing things is more painful than numbly ignoring them, but sometimes, given their moment, these things lead you to where you really want to be anyway.
I do a lot of things pretty well; I do nothing great. The people that helped Grandma feel good the last hours of her life did something great. My hat is off to them. I don't wear hats because they lead to premature male patern baldness, and I already have enough genetic strikes against me, so this is a metaphorical tipping of the hat.
As I watched Grandma bravely await whatever came next for her, and was mistaken for an angel by her, I realized that I have many genetic advantages on my side...I hope that i can live up to them. I felt very happy that Grandma knew what awaited her and welcomed it.
Having her look at me and ask me if I was there for her, because she was ready, was a life changing moment that I can't possibly explain.
There's a view of life that is so large that I can't possibly comprehend it, but Grandma did and wanted me to also. I'm such a disappointment.
Part venting, part grieving, part...ridge in a pear tree...
What? It can't all be morose.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ready for Spring

This has been the worst winter since moving here. In recent weeks we've hit 70 a few times, but much like today, we slide back into the low 60's with full cloud coverage and probably rain. When it rains here, it isn't like "tap dancing in small puddles on the sidewalk with a tiny umbrella and a big smile" rain. There is usually a high probability that the storm will kill you through drowning, lightning strikes, tornadoes and in the worst case, your house gets carried away and kills someone else when it lands. That last one can be the best case depending upon which side of the foundation you are on.
So, this winter has me thinking negative thoughts, with only depressing things to write about, leaving me usually doing nothing. I want to write happy things, with bright, colorful descriptions and happy subjects that inspire comments like "jeepers that's swell," or "tee hee hee." I let my mind wander through "happy" mine fields, avoiding stepping on anything that might only be disguised as "happy". I've said it before and I'll say it now, Dr. Seuss was a bastard... oops "boom!"
Why did he take so many good ideas, leaving the rest of us with only sinewy leftovers that require so much picking through to get to anything good?
And then it hits me:
Young Samuel is playing in a bright green meadow, among brilliant red and yellow tulips. He wears royal blue shorts and a shirt the color of the sun. Samuel stops and marvels at the sound of the majestic eagle screeching overhead, high up in the endless blue sky. As he lays back in the lush green grass, he hears the hum of nearby bees and humming bird wings. Samuel is an outcast in his world, because while he hears so many wonderful things, the rest of the world hears nothing. People stopped listening to the things that mattered so long ago, that they gradually lost the ability to process any sounds except the answers to direct questions. Whenever Samuel would point out the sounds of nature, the response was always the same; the person would cup a hand behind their ear and snap at him "What?"
The end result is that, through some miracle that isn't clear to me yet, Samuel gets the world to hear the things that matter. I'll call it "Samuel hears a what?"

I have shared this with those closest to me, and no one seems to find it as funny as I do. I don't need them, I don't need anyone.
Maybe Samuel snaps and tackles someone, shrieking hysterically and slapping them until they can hear the wonders of nature again, which is followed by a chain reaction of shrieking and slapping that brings the world back to nature. The end.
"Good night kids, sleep tight."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's day

I have taken out a modest loan and am about to unveil the ultimate Valentine's weekend. Jewelry? A tropical vacation? No.

Cinderella the ballet, accommodations and a nice steak dinner. I was excited planning it and have been looking forward to it, but now that the day is here, I am wondering if it really matters. We could have done this any weekend..given enough advance notice to take a loan against my 401K ...but on Valentine's day, the day for lovers, maybe there was a better plan. Maybe a trip to the gulf coast was in order. There is something so natural and healthy about sunrise on the beach; not the face down, mouthful of sand, morning after kind of sunrise, but the kind of sunrise that has you walking with a pleasantly full belly, a hot cup of coffee and not even the slightest trace of a headache, hand in hand with the one you love. If there are porpoises in the surf it's even better, but just a moment without the noise and expectations of human life, surrounded by birds scurrying to evade waves and little bugs digging to evade birds always feels more personal and intimate than the most carefully planned night on the town. I guess my existing plans will do for the moment, but maybe my weekend will include the promise of a quiet sunrise walk on the beach at some point in the near future. Now that I think of it, I am the one who likes sunrise...maybe the promise of a quiet sunset walk on the beach. Ahhh, the beach......

If I ever disappear, I will be somewhere in a small cabin with a one-lane dirt road that leads to the beach and another that leads to a small town. The cabin doesn't have windows, just square openings in the walls with light curtains that stir in the breeze and shutters that are latched open to the outside walls. A sunrise run takes me through the small town, where someone rakes the dirt in a small courtyard to create the clean, simple image I need. Maybe it's in the Florida Keys, and it's Ernest Hemingway raking the sunrise sand as he spits out the last few grains from his own morning on the beach. "Hello," he says, "I like raking this sand, sand that leads to the snow-white beach with grey-green clumps of grass that hold onto the small dunes, trying to keep together the image that the world is withstanding the forces of time and nature, not washing into the pristine blue waters of the gulf and further down to fill great rifts in the earth's crust that accept the fresh sand and absorb it, only to compress and heat it, pushing it up to create new lands somewhere else," as only Hemingway could say and somehow still obey the laws of grammar. In the distance a bell rings, the sun rises and an old man catches a giant swordfish on only a handful of string and a hook. Back at the cottage it's February 14th, and I head out hand in hand for a walk on the beach with the one I love.