Earthly Illusions and Blackwater Woods

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St. Patrick’s Day Sky: Am I the only one who sees a wide-eyed smiling face?

One can learn many things from those who channel non-earthlings.

One of my daughters recently finished a school-specific rite of passage that involves writing a Senior Meditation.   I know little of this ritual.  I do know that our puppy consumed a good helping of fiber from a book of past Meditations, because I discovered  shreds of palpable (pulpable?) evidence of that transgression.

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The Dog Ate Her Homework. Really.

I  know only the tidbit of information my daughter was willing to disclose to me about her Meditation: it was about aliens.

“Did you get it done?”  I was slightly afraid to ask, particularly because she spent the last three weeks of winter term with a horrible flu that turned her silvery voice into a froggy, hacking mess.

She nodded.  And unleashed a coughing fit.

“What was it about?”

“Aliens.”

“Aliens?”  I asked, sloshing coffee on my suit, shoes and outgoing mail as I headed out for work.  “Like, undocumented immigrants?”

“Tralfamadorians.”  She replied.

“Oh.” Enough said.

Tralfamadorians, as any Kurt Vonnegut fan knows, dispensed pearls of wisdom and were not favorably disposed to linear time: “It is just an illusion, here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.”

A few nights ago, on the anniversary of the day when my husband finally came home from the hospital, I read Hallucinations.  Not unsurprisingly, Jim then visited my dreams, but in a disturbing way that left me feeling acutely that there was something more I could have done.  Time and time again, in that peculiarly concentrated kaleidoscope that makes up REM sleep, Jim and I were racing to find the solutions to intricate word puzzles–and we always found the answers, but were too late.

In this dream world, governed by the strictest of linear time, only those who got the answers first won.

When I replay the weeks and days leading up to my husband’s death I think there was something more I could have done, some puzzle I could have solved in time to help him, to alleviate his pain, to make things somehow easier for him.  Perhaps this is common for caregivers.

Some version of that searing self-doubt is my constant winter companion, when the very feel of the air and lighting of the sky brings me back to the moments when I rushed Jim to the emergency room, when snow curved into waves on the flat rooftops outside his hospital windows, when I trudged miles along an empty highway in a blizzard , ice granules whipping against my face, to get one more medication for him to try.

Yesterday was the day that contained the moment my husband’s heart stopped beating.   Continue reading “Earthly Illusions and Blackwater Woods”

A Father’s Day Toast

One of my daughters had to explain to me the frequent appearance of Jim’s left hand–the one with the ring divet–among photographs he took from mountain tops: it was how he set up contiguous shots to form a panorama

My electronic inbox overflows with entreaties to make Father’s Day purchases at deep discounts.  Shopping is not on my mind.

Even my reliably soothing farm game saddens me with a “Father’s Day Quest” in which a brown-eyed, raven-haired girl pops up with bubbles of text recalling what her father has taught her, like looking at stars through a telescope and how to drive.  (It was I who had to ride shotgun for all of those hours with the daughter who just got her license.)

Last Father’s Day, not long after Jim’s death, I took the children who were home with me on the kind of family hike Jim frequently took with us.  He would clamber with his long stride up a mountain with our youngest jabbering musically in a baby carrier on his shoulders as the other three zig-zagged ahead, happily crying out “This way!” when they spotted the painted triangles which marked the trails.

Clusters of us would link and unlink  hands, helping each other over boulders and down slippery stretches.  Jim, who always carried the lion’s share of the weight, though it never seemed to burden him, would dole out water bottles and other supplies.  Small hands would grab fists full of his special gorp mixture.  (Despite the seemingly indiscriminate grabbing, the M & Ms and cashews always would go first.)

Of course this time, without Jim, I got us a little bit lost on the way up to the trail head.

When we finally arrived, all the trails we ordinarily took were obstructed by fallen trees, casualties of catastrophic spring storms.

One of Jim’s many photographs in deep greens and crystalline blues
(c) 2010 Jim Glennon

Continue reading “A Father’s Day Toast”

Gathering Blue and Wisdom from Pooh

Why Stop at Two?
June, 2012

The nest on Jim’s twig wreath, just outside my window, is gathering more cornflower blue denizens.  The parents are on high alert: one frequently mans the nearby pathway against intrusion, while one sits on the nest and swoops violently upwards if someone dares open the forest-green door to conduct human business.

In Gathering Blue, the young heroine has a magical artistic gift: her hands infuse colors into dye, which she spins into threads which memorialize a story through uncannily beautiful embroidery.

I think, very much due to my husband’s influence and outlook, that every one of us is blessed with some kind of magic–something only we can do.   Continue reading “Gathering Blue and Wisdom from Pooh”

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