The tides of life rise and fall obedient to the gravitational pull of celestial bodies known and understood only by them. The cycle of good times lasts only so long before the sine wave of life thrusts us below the surface in a bi-polar swing. It used to be that a decade seemed like a lifetime… now it’s more like a month.
I was thinking about my friend Marjorie who passed earlier this month. She and hers had become family to all of us here in Southeast Ohio over the last fifteen or so years. Where did those years go? I guess the river of time claimed them as it swept all those moments downstream. It seems so… well, unlikely, so inconceivable, that she and I will no longer confer before a class at the Fur Peace Ranch… that I will no longer benefit from her often incisive and opinionated world views.
Grieving is such a selfish thing. Marjorie’s pain is over… her Samsara has moved to another plane, and she with it. I have come to realize that there is no way that one can ever truly say, ‘I know exactly how you feel.’ I believe that to be one of the most presumptuous statements. No one can ever really know how another feels… all we can do is try to relate. I guess what I am saying is that my grief is for me… that I will miss my friend. Do my thoughts and prayers go out to her family? Of course they do. But the grief that we all feel from loss surrounds us alone. I have realized that I am sorry for me… for my loss.
At almost seventy four years of age, I have lost friends and family members. Fortunately I have the distinct good fortune to still be alive… to be sitting here writing about it. My Dad has been gone for eighteen years, Mom for seventeen. They were both born in 1910… they would be 104 years old if they were still alive… Let’s face it, we will all pass at the end of the race. At least that’s what I’ve been told. When our breath stops, we truly belong to the ages. Everything we might have been will never come to pass. The story will have been written with a final ending. Those ripples we send out as we plunge into the pool of life will expand in concentric circles… and grow less, and less… until the pond is once more like glass.
And that is the way of things. A strong memory keeps things of the heart close at hand. At the end of the day, those of us left behind soldier on and new stories will emerge to be told, retold and heard.
To have made waves in our time here would seem to have been a good thing. As I sit here on the eve of beginning a new recording project I am thinking about making a few more waves. Still and all, the fragility of it all is inescapable. Thinking back on one of the great Robert Duvall movies, Broken Trail, one of his lines sticks with me. ‘Birth to death, from the sweet grass to the packing house… we journey between the two eternities.’ At this point in my life with the journey closer to the end than the beginning, each moment seems more and more precious every day.
It is a beautiful Fall day here in Southeast Ohio. I would like to go for a motorcycle ride and convince my daughter to go with me. This may or may not happen depending on her mood and desires… but one way or the other, we’re going to spend the rest of the afternoon together. If she doesn’t want to ride, we may do some archery or the like, or maybe I’ll just keep her company while she reads.
If that’s as good as it’s going to get, it’s perfect.