30 December 2004

Snow Globe

Death twitches my ear. “Live,” he says. “I’m coming.” - Virgil

I was home for a day and a half and then off to Cleveland. That was nearly a month ago now… has it been that long since my last confession, regression, reflection? I don’t think I’d ever been to Ohio before. I can’t really say I was in Ohio. I was for a day and a half. And it snowed. I sat in the meeting and stared out the windows from time to time, musing at the courtyard as the first snow descended. What a magical time to be anywhere, during the first snow.

It was clean and white and relentless. I’d been reading Alice Sebold’s new book Lovely Bones on the airplane and it begins with a little girl lamenting the fate of a scarf-clad penguin in a snow globe. Not to worry, her father assures, he’s just trapped in a perfect world. And I’d laugh a little to myself as the day progressed, thinking about how we’re all just trapped in a perfect world. I need to remember that.

The day I left Cleveland, I’ve decided, is among the worst days of my life. Which is a testament to how my life hasn’t really been that bad and perhaps also a sad commentary on my yardstick of personal suffering. The meeting went just a bit long and the taxi was just a bit late. I needed to go to the bathroom. I needed to pee, but I figured the airport was a mere fourteen miles away and I didn’t want to risk missing the first taxi and logic informed that I should wait. I waited and indeed got in the first taxi which promptly was stuck in traffic due to that perfect world of a first snow. It took two and half hours to make that sojourn. The taxi stopping and starting, vibrating and the cold making me shiver even more. My bladder ached – it’s all I could think about for two and half hours… counting the seconds which crawled on their belly. Talk about the notion of ever lasting life. If every two and a half hour segment of time moved as slowly as that one I’d say it would feel like we lived forever. Maybe salvation is living wholly in the present in excruciating discomfort.

Trapped in a perfect world…

I think it is interesting that indeed I’ve experienced the loss of those I love, the death of those who died young and terrible deaths. I think it’s interesting that I don’t count those losses as paramount to the discomfort of sitting in a taxi cab for two and half hours whilst needing to pee. I reflected on this and muse that perhaps those losses are still happening on some level. Or maybe, in fact, they have stopped happening on some level. When someone we love dies, although the act of their dying may take place in a split second, we divide the grief of their death up over time. It’s like it’s not an acute event for us, the living. That needing to pee had a beginning, a middle and an end, like a short story. But death and loss is not. It’s more like a marsh - there are no clear borders where one world starts and the other stops.

Trapped in a perfect world…

It’s sometimes hard to hold, isn’t it, that these things are all constituents of a perfect world? I find this interesting about me too. Some of the things that people enjoy about me are my insights, my perspective and the way(s) that I articulate these things. It’s also these same things that people want to shut up and down. But it’s the same people. They at once want and don’t want, love and loathe, my gifts. As though we can all have it both ways. The double edged sword – it can cut the vines to clear the view and your heart all at once.

Trapped in a perfect world…

Are you following my metaphors? Sliding down my similes to a perfect sibilant yes? There are things beneath the things, hiding snuggly under the covers.

Trapped in a perfect world…

I got a library card yesterday. I leafed through an Annie Liebowitz picture book called Women with a forward by Susan Sontag. A woman I once knew was photographed for the book. I cannot begin to express how dissed I feel by this woman. How insignificant and invisible in history some people can make us feel. And I wonder, does it matter? Does it change anything, what is spoken and what remains silent? As I look through the mirror, darkly, I see myself lurking in time and I see time lurking in me too.

Trapped in a perfect world…

11 December 2004

We Have No Right

We have no right to ask, when sorrow comes, “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness.. - Source Unknown

I arrived back from St Louis last night and leave for Cleveland in the morning. I sat on airplanes and in airports and waited with the patience of a saint to make it back here to be among the things I love. What a strange and sad statement that I don’t carry these things more steadfastly in my heart. How desperate and lonely I will be when Death takes them and I failed to find a way to love them rightly and deeply enough such that nothing, even Death, can take them from me.

Death twitches my ear. “Live,” he says. “I’m coming.” - Virgil

07 December 2004

Big Brown Eyes

She looked at me with her big brown eyes and all she felt was that for reasons she couldn’t comprehend she was enduring relentless punishment.

On the day she was got her stitches out I’d planned a celebration in the park with a cadre of her pals. Within an hour and a half of the sutures being removed the wound had re-split and we were starting all over again with the restriction, the cone and the pills. She’d just finished the course of antibiotics for the Lyme’s disease as well. All this bum luck plopped in her paws at once. I was in the vet office when they re-cut the skin to make rough edges for healing and held her while they sutured her again – that is until I felt faint and sad and asked the vet tech to step in.

And then Ed slammed himself in the head with a tire iron – a huge Harry Potter-style scar runs the length of his forehead (now showing some kinship with Secret whose own scar has now acquired a heel and looks suspiciously like Italy.) He achieved a concussion and to top off a stellar week his car exploded on 19th Avenue and he had to spend near $100 for a taxi home. (This would turn out to be a small blessing as I found him a new vehicle on Craigslist – a fabulous Isuzu Rodeo. I make him drive me about and I say things like, “Whoa.. did you see that cow!?” or “Hey there now, be careful for that horse.” These things happen in the Rodeo you know…. Or “Did you know you have the most dangerous profession on land – you know, a rodeo clown…” It’s been a few weeks, he’s not so amused anymore.)