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.
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....