The night embraces chilly crisp air. Mist lays heavy across fallow fields. The full moon glows extra bright this night, sharp stars and clear, clean endless sky everywhere I look. The trees slow striptease down to naked limbs. I have memories I don’t understand. Standing in the natural world I am here. Someone else’s memories bubble to the surface. It’s nights like this where time floats back in step with strange ethereal music. A mix of knowing times past that I may have lived and living events over again. Singing alone in the dark, walking by a graveyard of ancient regret. Singing sad songs. The look in my mother’s eyes, days before she died. They were a dark weeping twin terror. Like she knew a horrible truth she couldn’t reveal. A tale that if told would rock the living world. Maybe she saw the other side of what was coming. A brief glimpse of something sinister and foreboding. I don’t believe she was afraid of dying. She feared a secret. A revelation the living should never know.
The possibility that there’s nothing on the other side of that fence, in those cotton candy clouds. The great spirit in the sky might be a tall tale. Passing through the exit door of this life’s waiting room into the horror of the unknown. An empty black void where the dearly departed bump heads in a shadowy dark afterlife. The possibility of repeating life over again. Life happens. Without any coaxing or prodding, we keep breathing. Automatic, it passes for living, cloaked in life. What it means to be alive eludes us. When we think it’s figured out, something else happens. Mostly we muddle through and hope for the best.
There’s no easy way to be here now in this messy world. Approaching winter, I hastily accept another year’s end, another one done and gone. If we could save up time like pennies would we spend them more thriftily? Would we burn through them like a junkie with a wad of money? Or do we just accept time for what it is? Pennies buy nothing but the impossible. Drugs kill time. The slow tedium burns off the hours, the passing seasons, in increments down to the precise moment, blink, poof. Most of the time we’re too distracted to even notice the way we go. How one may live with grace while another wallows in foolish follies. The ultimate result’s the same. So busy with life they forgot they were already dead. We cannot pick and choose our timetable of departure. That would be suicide. But we know how to wait at the station.
Nowhere are entitlement, privilege, and arrogance more obvious than in America. Did we inherit it from Europe? In this tra-la-la land of liars, thieves and killers, the delusional multitudes push each other around in self-righteous vagaries. Inflicting pain and suffering wherever they go. If someone can exert their will on another for superiority or dominance, you can bet you’ll find them here among us. It’s a natural in this synthetic mock-up of a so-called nation. To look down on the rest of the world. We’ve forgotten we’re equal and when it’s time to go for that long dirt nap, we all go the same, waiting our turn regardless of rank, class, or standing.
Last Wednesday I attended a funeral for my Aunt, who lived to 98. She had a wonderful life. The last time I saw her alive and well was at her 90th birthday party. My mother was still alive, and also attended the celebration. All the surviving family and friends were there. It was a big, nostalgic, and sentimental affair. It was different from my childhood days when our family went to her house for crab feasts. Time was on our side and there was a sense of goodness and fun everywhere you looked. Life hadn’t yet stolen our happiness away.
And for many of us the good times still roll. Since those days I’ve watched friends and relatives grow up and have families of their own. Now I’m part of my wife’s family and it’s nice. A new family. The circle is unbroken. I share sadness, revel in joy. I feel your life in mine. Now that I’ve made it this far, I want to linger a bit longer with grace and acceptance of how things are. Share the love that I’ve found. It seems impossible and probably is.
I still want to shout it from the rooftops. Spread some good news. None of that crazy bullshit that surrounds us really matters. It never did. Doom and gloom take a seat; I sit among the bones of the sainted ones, and all my dead ancestors, and sing songs of joy and sorrow. I live in the world as an observer, looking, watching, and seeing how we are and wondering how we could be. Find that happy place. The ways we act toward our fellow beings. Please participate in the crazy rich pageant of life. Sing loud. It helps a worried soul to just sing out loud. And I sing in the shower. I urge you too. Just sing it. Any damn song. And I sing in the night. And I sing to myself. And I sing to no one.