On My Mind

My protector…well, two of them, I suppose. That’s Maximus (Mus, Mook, Grey Muzzle, Little Man) on the desk with the usual companion of my day. He’s a snuggler, that furry beast. He loves to be around me, generally sleeping on my desk in the daytime and at my feet through the night. In between he gets in a lot of up close and personale snuggling and kissing – he has to be right in your face.

I am trying to wean him from the snuggling a bit because in about 4 days he will be forbidden from the usual snuggle and will have to adjust. Thankfully, the other two cats are lap cats, they’ll be fine. But Mus? It will be a battle.

I’ve gotten a lot of laundry and cleaning done but there is still so much to do in preparation. Admittedly, I have some fear of the surgery to come. My bloodwork came back and all was stellar which is a comfort considering the amount of butter we consume. But I do worry…enough that I am getting out the folder for the Just In case. All the insurance, the last rites wishes, etc.

For me, death isn’t as…taboo a topic as it might be for others. I find it interesting in many aspects. It is a tad disconcerting when it might be your own, of course. And a gory scene is never pleasant. There are some Trooper photos that aren’t looked at. But a few – it is as though the animation is gone and what is left is a costume. Yes, just so – the actor has left the stage and the costume is left behind after the scene has played out.

So it is that I have already set a general play for my own departure. Music, preparations, words…I never want anyone to be flailing about in such a difficult time, not knowing what to do or whom to call. But the disposition of my things…that is a harder list. Years of words, dusty and now without their own animation, they seem still too important to lay on the pyre but…who would understand them, or care to? Hurtful things, mortifying revelations, everything…

And the mundane, of course. Clothing and shoes, frippery and ribbons…I wouldn’t want Trooper to deal with it all. So whom do we task with it? I’ve a person in mind, a friend back in Georgia, who is sensible, who would be able to perform the task without as much emotion as others might have. I need to get it all finalized and written down so that, should the unexpected take place, no one need wonder at what to do next.

All this on my mind…and dreams…strange dreams of far away places and people I don’t know. While the very scientific side of me states simply that once the electronic life is gone, the flesh just Is – no hereafter, no angels perched on clouds. Simply static and then nothing. But as I get older I wonder about that. About how so many people believe otherwise. “Hang he pa du rootless tree…” Ages before Christ that “tree” was known. And from ocean to ocean peoples trying to label the unknown and coming up with the same concepts.

Yes, it may be time to watch Joseph Campbell once more. When my day comes I truly do hope that people are there, your dream dinner party, and you can laugh and chat without growing weary. Dinesen and Campbell, Asimov and Astaire…Mom – and even cats lost so long ago.

I was walking in the woods a long while back – I used to hike Sweetwater Park every Sunday back when I was in best health. Rain or shine, unbearably warm or covered in frost. And I’d bring an apple and leave some by the fairy king’s throne – a stump long worn so that only the framework remained, quite chair-like. It was deep autumn and the leaves were falling but not quite gone. And the dawn light poured like honey down the path, the tree trunks breaking it into shafts. I thought to myself, “This is what I hope heaven is like – a path through trees to a clearing where all things that ever were still Are.” It was such a striking moment that I recall it still so clearly. And as I crested that path and the sun came full on me I knew a peace of mind. And yet, a sadness, too. Just light, just leaves and just a path in an early morning park.

That park held much magic in it…many small events like the coyotes crossing in a pack before me on a very frosty morning so that I listened the entire hike, anxious for an attack I might not expect. Or the owl in the fog falling from a limb to graze my head while I watched the fog roll up the steep land from the river below, rolling like a living thing across the ground and chilling my feet. Or the large cat – someones escaped exotic – drinking across the river and, sensing me, bounding up the sheer rock face in 4 leaps, the pole tail balancing, its black tip visible only a second. (I didn’t take that path across the river often before and never after.) Or that spring morning where I saw the baby deer near the path, not moving when it saw me, its mother watching but not bolting yet. Slow and slow I moved, ducking my head as if to say, not wanting to eat you, just another deer…I was within 4 feet of the baby before mother slowly moved up the hill and baby followed. But looking back at me…the entire time, we both looked back, wishing for Communion.

Many a thought on my mind of late. I just hope for the best and a speedy recovery. Because I intend to make another wood my Sunday home, the dog my companion, and this shadowy fear of Doing a thing of the past. No, after this many things must change and I with it. There is, after all, many I thing I haven’t done yet. And time enough, if I don’t dawdle.

2 responses to “On My Mind

  1. Haunting post, and now I will worry and pray for you.I’ve been lucky, I’ve been disgustingly healthy all my life until a few years back I ended up in ICU. Apparently, Cipro, one of the “new age” antibiotics used for things like anthrax. . and a simple bladder infection on my count. . and I don’t agree. I ended up in the land of IV ports and forms in triplicate.I was disappointed that Cipro literature didn’t include overnight fat loss in addition to palpitation, artrial flutter, ventricular ectopy, syncope, hypertension, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, cardiopulmonary arrest, cerebral thrombosis, phlebitis, tachycardia, migraine, hypotension, rash, nausea, upper abdominal pain, liver failure and vomiting. (all things which I read on the warning label but though – I’ve taken antibiotics of all kinds, I’m still young, this won’t happen to me!)I’d like to say I was stoic and brave. But I wasn’t. I was scared to death. I clung to the life flight nurse as if I clung to earth, as if to let go were to disperse into the rainy night. I had thoughts of dying, of people I’d not see again But I flung those thoughts aside as the bright light of the hospital seared through the window, for without hope – what are we?Being in ICU was an eye opening experience. As peoples lives and hopes and dreams passed out the door, some home to family, others to hospice to die in the arms of loved ones, and one in a body bag, as the echoes of “code blue” bounce off the walls of my glass walled room, I went home in a few days somewhat bruised and punctured with countless needle holes, but sound, whole, and healthy, there being no damage to my heart from the episode. I think of the quote from Bob Dylan: If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.There is a brief moment when one has cheated death, a fleeting feeling of being utterly alive which occurs in times of danger or great physical intensity. In Zen Buddhism it is reached through meditation and is called kensho, a moment of feeling one with the universe. For me it was a chance to stare down that dark tunnel just for a moment, and turn back into the warm embrace of the people who hold me dear. People who hold you dear will be waiting as well.

  2. I have no words to meet your own kind revelations…I am so worried and yet trying so hard to be stoic. I just try to think about the 6 months from now version of life. How much better it will be. Even Christmas…better than before…But worry not. A prayer or two I won’t mind. LOL Thank you, again…

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