Thursday, April 03, 2008


Over at A Blade of Grass, Hopper is musing:

I ask myself questions and try not to answer by reason. I keep looking in my sketch book for hints or the words of writers. Kerouac said, accept loss forever. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But that's just more reason -- who can accept loss never had anything worth losing to start -- and it's certainly not me. Perhaps someday that may change and I'll let go; the fuel in the fireplace will finally meet its match.

My heart says that day is not today and that some things I still can't accept.

I can so relate.

Here I am, breezing along the Primrose Path of my early forties when I'm forced to realize that The Wheel has just clicked another notch.

That happens once in a while, the clicking sound that stops in me in my tracks, gasping. One of the last times it happened was at my grandfather's funeral. I was sitting there behind my father, who always has seemed so strong, so much larger than life. And I looked at him - really looked at him - and for the first time saw him not as a father, but as a mortal man. I took note of his slumped shoulders and increasing frailty. It wasn't much mind you; it's more pronounced now. But I remember it was there, in that moment, when I first noticed it. And then I looked up at the front of the church where my grandfather's casket sat and had this image of a diving board. Below it was a pool and a ripple of water where grandpa had gone in. My dad was moving up the board next, and behind him me and my sisters. In the natural progression of things, I realized, he'd be next into the pool. And then us.....

Maybe it's good to be reminded of one's mortality. It makes us appreciate The Now. But when one is truly happy with life - and I count myself in that blessed minority - there can be a certain reluctance to see things change too much.

Lately, the click of The Wheel has gotten me thinking again. This latest click was caused by two events - my oldest daughter's engagement and my mother's possible cancer diagnosis.

I went over and saw my mother the other day. We had coffee together as we always do and discussed the usual subjects, her cats and her yard. She badgered me to pet the shy orange tabby she rescued, and pointed to the abundance of squirrels on her feeders. I want to think that I could go over there any day for as long as I want and have the same conversation followed by the same goodbye kiss routine we share. If I peck her on the cheek and turn away, she calls me back.

"I get the last kiss," she'll say, and then leaves a red lipstick print on my face. She likes to have the last word, too, and usually does. It's one of the things in my life I can count on.

But I know one day, unless I die first, she will be gone. I never really thought much about it before. Now I think about it a lot.

Then there are my children. My youngest are still at home, and there are days when I'm juggling chores and writing deadlines and their endless little demands and think, "Geesh, will this ever end?"

The answer is a loud, clicking "Yes!" But now I'm not sure I want it to. I want to cling to these days of beautiful chaos - the endless questions, the skinned knees, the grubby hands filled with a gift of dandelions plucked from the yard. Before I know it they'll be out on the nest and - like my eldest - preparing to establish a household of their own. That will be a good thing, a mark of my success, that I got them that far.

And yet...

The clicks get my attention, make me realize how fast life is moving. It's like being in a car. When you're looking ahead the trip seems to be going at a reasonable pace. But look out that side window and you realize just how fast the scenery rushing by. Maybe that's why it's best to keep your eyes on the road. 

I'm not saying I want to stop life; even the changes that scare me always manage to bring new and wonderful things. But sometimes I do wish I could grab it by the leash and tie it to a rock for a while. Not forever, just until I catch my breath....


Doc said...

I am glad that I found your blog and I want to read more, your writing seems really introspective... I have huge issues with change. It always scares me.... sometimes frightens me to death.

Hopper said...

i really love this post... it's very human, is the best way i can think to describe it, very real... the simplicity of the images... the grubby hands with the dandelions... the shoulders of your father... beautifully done... thanks for sharing...

Hopper said...

p.s. don't worry about the deleted thing at all... i was just more curious than anything... it's sort of nice to finally know that there's a reasonable explanation to it as i've seen that before and thought it was an ex or something... lol... sorry...

Morgan said...

Welcome Doc! And thanks for your comments. Change can be scary, but it's often in how it's presented, or perceived. If I can look at change as natural unfolding, or flow, it isn't that scary. And that's probably a healthy way to view it since we can't stop it. But when it's sudden and jarring, that's when it's frightening. It's like the difference between aging - which we can kind of accept - and the onset of disease, which perhaps we cannot. Both can lead to the same ends, but somehow that meandering path is easier to travel than the expressway.

Hopper, thank you. You humble me with your kind comments. And glad I could clear things up about the deletion. I wouldn't want to be mistaken for anyone's ex. I have enough excitement in my life as it is..

Doc said...

I agree with you that we can't stop it however it's my OCD that makes me so resistant to change... even though my intelect tells me it's natural.

Morgan said...

Yes, I would imagine that OCD would make dealing with change much, much harder. I have a relative with OCD. I can remember a time if you took a glass out of her cabinet she'd take them all out and wash them. It was a compulsion; she just couldn't help herself.

Doc said...

My OCD is much more mild than that thank goodness.

Morgan said...

Well, I'm glad to hear that, Doc. :-)

laughingwolf said...

i'm with you on all counts, my friend

my dad died in early february, then my dearest friend ended up in hospital, close to death, last month... recovered, then plunged in again... thankfully, she's on recovery road, but i'm still in a fog about what's happened this year....

Honour said...

morgan, found your blog through hopper's and i really liked this posting. there are blessings in all changes, though ... my mother had a serious illness couple years back and it completely changed me and my sister's relationship with her ... which then had a ripple effect on the whole family ... all for the better... sometimes, it's not too bad to follow those fears into the dark and see where they lead you

Roland said...

Another insightful post, Morgan.
It's funny how we dislike change.
None of us are immune.
Sometimes change is good, sometimes bad, but its always there.
Odd thing is, though it seems scary, its good to know that others have 'taken the plunge' before us.
Makes it a little less scary.
Well, at least to me. :)

Bobbb - Citizen of Earth said...

The Wheel

"The wheel is turning and you can't slow down

You can't let go and you can't hold on

You can't go back and you can't stand still

If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will..."

I was lucky
Very lucky, to grow up in a time when the prophets spoke so clearly...
Their words were everywhere, you only had to stop and listen.

I heard that song "The Wheel", sometimes it seems like a long time ago, Most times not

But either way it stuck with me

I used to ride the Merry Go Round at Nunnely's Carosell and when I grew older that song somehow brought back that crazy dizzy feeling.

Sometimes you got the brass ring, but usually you didn't

The bell would sound four times, and the ride would begin to slow down - kind of easing you into the feeling that it was soon to be over

Unless you had another ticket...

My mom used to say that she had no plans to live forever

"It's not fair to those that come up behind you" she would say

"Your children, your children's children, they will all need a chance, to play, to live, to run the world, Just as I have.
And when it's my time, I must depart, to make room for those who follow"

"Everyone get's a turn, no one gets more than that"

I sure miss Mom - but she was right of course, and she taught me well, and I tried my best to pass that wisdom down to my own.

As I watch them grow up. I know I did good, and Mom would be proud to see how they have grown.

"Won't you try just a little bit harder?

Couldn't you try just a little bit more?"

So Hang on for all you are worth Morgan, Savor each "Click" and go where the wheel takes you,
Life is certainly not about the destination, it's about the journey. and it's about the ride.

Let your hair fly, live for the laughter of your children and the embrace of your lover

Live well and accept the bitter sweet truth that all is change and all will end.

No regrets when you hear the four bells ring, another soul is waiting to take your seat, and have a go at that brass ring.

"Small wheel turning by the fire and rod

Big wheel turning by the grace of God

Every time that wheel turn round

Bound to cover just a little more ground"

And so it is, the wheel turns, and we all move forward.

Where it takes us - is up to us
So teach your children well, Morgan

Attend to their needs, and then to their independance, and finally to their freedom...

For their turn is comming fast.

And when the bells ring and the time comes, be not afraid to let go

For among so many others, I will be there

To catch you

The Wheel
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann

Morgan said...

Wuff, I hear ya. Changes can really blindside you, can't they. I had several friends die last year before their time. Negative changes like illness or death can really wonder why the wheel spins the way it does.

Bobb, the lyrics you sent help put things in perspective. I can always count on you to send me food for thought. Of course, Garcia was really so inspirational.

Roland, I agree with you. I remember thinking when my editor died, "If he can do it, how hard can it be?" ;-) He was a good friend, by the way, and would have actually appreciated that little jab at him. Should we meet again, I'm sure he'll have a few for me.

Honour, welcome and thanks so much for stopping in and commenting. My mom's illness is scary, but it's already gotten my sisters and me talking about things we never really discussed before. And it's made me appreciate my mom a lot more, too.

Lu' said...

Sigh... I'm glad Doc found your blog too. I'm not a searcher of blogs. It is only through Mic that I found Doc and Mt Cat and through them, all these other nices places to visit.

Tania said...

Ma'am. This really touched me. My mom passed away in 2005, she had cancer. She was a phenomenal woman and I still crave her nearness: her hugs, her gentleness, her wisdom, her smell. I will treasure her memory always: she lives on in my sister and I and her face is shadowed in my own. In some ways I get to be her. The cycle of life and death is something I don't like to think of, but often do. It remains a painful but necessary reality.