Wednesday, January 6, 2010

House of Memory

A new year, a new decade, an older person…
I love Colorado weather. Today we ate sandwiches on the deck in the warm sunshine. Ok, we had coats on too, but it was oh so pleasant for January 6. By 3:30 the fog and frozen mist rolled in from the east, along with the first flurries of a storm. The fickle moods of this place we call home, the planet, the continent, the state, the county, the tiny acreage in the woods… all narrow down to a pinpoint and move me to ponderings.

I really dislike looking backwards and we humans insist on doing it at New Year’s time. There is a melancholy surrounding memory. Whether real or imagined, the memory is not reliable.
I could start with ‘it was the best year EVER’, or I could start with ‘it was the hardest year EVER’ and both would be correct. Every blooming year is also decay so why do we spend time and energy with the re-tilling of already tilled soil? Because we cannot deny the house of memory which encases us in the illusion that it was not all for naught.

When I swoon over my memories, I do not do the present justice. When I relive experiences through the lens of a past memory and then double the correction with a lens of the present, I alter the clarity of both vistas. And yet I look back. Especially when I see what is in front of me disappearing.

Bedside watch for someone who fights the solo fight to stay alive is a very humbling experience. It makes the memory and the heart race at the same pace. Your own soul amps up its courage in a helpless situation. Your breath matches the breath of the warrior before you, and you hold a frail hand with all the tenderness you can muster. When the countdown is not for midnight cheer, but for an unknown number of days or weeks, there is no glowing ball or confetti. There is a second by second contemplation and hesitation… don’t leave… don’t stay… don’t worry… don’t cry… don’t hurt…

The deathbed vigil…
“you’re beautiful”: repeated to everyone who comes in the room
“thank you”: repeated to everyone who comes in the room
“I love you”: repeated to everyone who comes in the room

Fear – pain – fear – anger – fear – frustration – fear – morphine – more fear

And yet he never stops saying…
“you’re beautiful”
“thank you”
“I love you”

When my skin is so thin, that my soul shows through…
What kind of soul will be exposed?
When my existence is reduced to a few breaths per minute…
What words will I whisper?

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