Monthly Archives: August 2012

you

Hummingbirds are everywhere at this retreat I’m on. They drone and dart and buzz. They zip and hover. I think about Emily Dickenson, whose nature poetry I adore. She portrays bees as fantastic sailors on seas of daffodils. Aren’t those fine metaphors? What are my hummingbirds?

Komikazes? Bombers? Marauders? Winged ninjas? I watch one dip his long beak into the orange trumpet of a vine, then try to play with  with the word trumpet….music, something blaring out, attracting….it wouldn’t be sound, it would be scent, yes? I scratch out orange trumpet blares/scent—you komikazi in/ dip your beak—poof–you’re gone. I’ve too many syllables, and it’s too rough, but I also have fragments, the beginnings to make haiku: 3 lines, syllables of 5/7/5…..the fun is in rearranging, finding more vivid words, staying in the syllable framework. It’s play writing, so nourishing. But I’m tired.

You do it for me.

Advertisements

frame

I just talked to my mother, she says in her soft voice. I’m at a spiritual retreat in New Mexico, and its leader is speaking. She has dementia, she continues, and she talks about our mothers being our first witnesses…..for we are working on developing a witness self within, and I start crying. My mother has Alzheimer’s. Before it began, she was beautiful, engaging, friendly, smart. She is still beautiful, still friendly. But over the last five years, I have watched too much of her depart: the woman who loved to shop; the woman who could take apart a car motor; the woman who could kill a snake; the woman who loved chocolate; the woman who was vain; the woman who was always generous with money—the first woman I knew. My Mama. She was a reflection of me. She was my earliest frame of self, and now I watch that frame splinter into fragments very slowly.

When I am through weeping at what is, I think about the idea of being a witness in someone’s life, reflecting back. What do I reflect back to those in my life? I wonder.

What do you?

joe

I catch the movie Meet Joe Black and finally see it beginning to end–I’ve only ever seen the ending. I am stunned by Brad Pitt’s beauty. He’s playing Death, and I think, what if death really is this beautiful?

It’s over, Anthony Hopkins’ character says. He means his life. The words reverberate. What a moment that must be: when you know to your core that you are going to die. Does that realization change you? Cleanse you? Purify? Electrify? What? It seems like it would have to shade the acts of living a precious vibrant purple, a bold, deliberate red.

And at the end, before Hopkins walks away with beautiful death, he says to the people gathered to celebrate his birthday, I want nothing more.

I’m reminded of a Sufi poem by Rumi:

On the day I die, when I’m being carried toward the grave

don’t weep,

don’t say “he’s gone! he’s gone!”

 Death has nothing to do with going away.

The sun sets and the moon sets

but they’re not gone.

 Death is a coming together.

The tomb looks like a prison 

But it’s really release into Union.

 The human seed goes down in the ground

like a bucket into the well where Joseph is.

It grows and comes up full of some unimagined beauty.

 Your mouth closes here

and immediately opens with a shout of joy

 there

in and out of light

It’s late afternoon, and he goes into the bedroom, the little spirit, my youngest grandson not quite three who lights my life right now. Rainbows, he calls out excitedly, and I see that the afternoon sun has sent its prisms through the cut glass set high in the bathroom wall, and colors are here and there on both the bathroom and bedroom floors. I forgot, I tell him. You forgot, he repeats, as he steps into their colors and moves about in happiness. She forgot, he tells the colored light. Nana forgot.

I do forget to walk into my bedroom in the afternoon and see this tiny spectacle of light. I forget to be glad of it. I forget to feel wonder, but my latest angel reminds me. He is moving out of angel stage, into little boy, into maneuvering and understanding this world of ours. But right now, he steps in and out of light.

I do the same, inside. Do you?