Memoirs of The Space Between Youth & Death

It was bound to happen. I find life has its own way of rearranging what was into what is without too much effort. It has an inertia that time meshes with & we look back, and there it is—something has changed.

Life is propelling my two oldest towards such new & interesting adventures. They have been all over the place in what they’ve wanted. But they ultimately want to be full time preachers, teaching the Bible. After one being accepted even into the construction engineering tech program at the local tech school, she has decided not to go. Instead, they’ve both been hired as photographers.

So they will work the fall season with a local photography company & then, they are going to Africa to be with my brother & sister in law for 4-5 months. They will come back in April or May and work the spring photography season & then, if they’ve like that year of their lives, do it all over again, going again to do what many would consider ‘missionary’ work, tho we don’t call it that.

As for me, I’ve happily gotten a job outside my house for the first time in many years.

I can tell you, that’s a scary thing. Interviewing for a job after years of being at home was nerve wracking. But it went well and I got it. I will be doing home care for seniors. It’s a humble job. The pay isn’t great but I am fine with that for now.

The funny thing is, I like old people. Even when I was a kid, they and the stage at which they are at doesn’t scare me. I think many people are afraid of age, and the looming death that comes to us all. I never really was.

Caring for seniors in this roll, of companion, less medical than a health aid, is actually something I feel comfortable with. The training includes all the tough stuff that comes to mind when caring for older ones, but, it is progressive. As your clients age you gain training & experience with the sensitive parts of the job.

We are an aging population. People of all ages are lonelier than they’ve ever been—ironic since we have communication at our fingertips. But older ones are the loneliest I believe. They are forgotten. To provide help to them seems to be one of the best things I could go into the job market and do.

It’s not much glory. Not much money. Not exciting. It’s just caring for other humans, which has been my full time job for the greater part of my life. It allows me to remain available to my kids before & after school which was also so important to me while they’re young. I’m sure as we all adjust I will gradually increase my availability if I need to. But it really was an answered prayer, to get a job, but still be here for my kids, to be able to pick my hours & clients & feel like it’s a valuable job beyond money. If it’s not for me, that’s fine too. It dips my feet back into the working world. But, answered prayers have a way of settling just right I find.

Life bends under time’s inertia, and I move forward, finding I’m the same but completely changed. As is, everyone else.

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Justice

what gave winter her wild

& summer her dream?

what has now become these small sunken teeth

gashing where the sinew sits laced against the bones?

I watched you give whispers to the willows,

small blooms to the thyme that creeps the dry caked earth,

innocent white buds of the yarrow quivering along this parched path.

I watched as you gave wisps to the clouds & smeared the sunset serenely, with each shade of passion & blush

I watched from here, where everything is nothing. Where whisper & bud is a mere fantasy. Where the land stinks with refuse & the valley never floods with anything but thirst.

I saw the tides that came—people blackened with exhaustion & worry & grief. People. With their tongues dried out & dragging. I saw.

How they gripped onto me, swaying, weighing me down to sit with them, to weep with them. To find some solace in these touchings of a human to a human, a soul to a soul—to feel the vast vagueness of our own selves & of those who die off like flies along this way. Across the desert. Over the salted plains of waters undrinkable. Off to the chainlink homes of hopes unfounded.

I saw. I watched. I cried. I fell.

My knees bled, slow & stinging. The ache came & stayed a while, sipping the tea from my bones & rocking, back & forth.

I could quiet it all with one sweet prayer, splayed wide to my God. I could quiet my insides. He quieted my insides—this inner seething & sadness spilt out upon the ground like a blood sacrifice.

I waited. Oh how I have waited.

The Open Wound

The beauty of rainfall to ease the open wound, to touch back the pain, to where it can be lost and home again.

The beauty of light as it cracks the cloud, firm and bold despite the harsh and loud.

What could be fear is ash and dust; what could be lost is moth and rust.

To fold back page upon page, to remember age upon age.

I could gaze but why the pain—the beauty of this moment, of this rain.

Uncounting

She did not count, so much as, uncount. Spinning back & forth, the jewels of each small petal, pausing, just there, where time had crept in for the kill. Each small second sharpening the blade, balancing back in its haunches, awaiting some moment that kept refusing to come forward. She could glance, neither up, nor down. Not even a moment could she take her eyes from that soft pink whir. Fingers trembling, quiet like a lip, or a chin, or a blade of grass, or a breath, just hovering on the edge of hope. It was not counting, but uncounting hoping to not count even one more.

Campaigns of Terror

morning, your slight turn of

fingers to fists, anger always biting on your lips

this pain, eases up from the heart, levered on faith & freedom

peace always came with a price, but not the one the world propagates

true peace lies pooled in the passive, in the strongest of the softnesses

agony lies in the sound of broken doors & guns drawn & a child left bruised upon the floor

* * *

title me as your terrorist? what Terror is this?

to close my door & pray?

to speak kind words of the unkind?

to sing to a patient God who watches, even now in his quietude?

I can feel the lies upon your breath before you speak them. They are crawling out your throat & dripping down your chin in some black-thorned ivy of misery.

Terror is the raid, that came crashing in, guns drawn, as we were thrown against the wall.

Terror is the threat of my children dragged from their beds in the warmth of night.

Terror is an accusation of hate when all that exists is love.

Terror is the accuser.

* * *

Can I weep, like some warm spring wind charged with rain & thunder?

Can I hold my breath just a little while longer?

Can I rip from my chest all truth & love & hope?

Can I close a mouth murmuring pain in a world filled with those who grope—anguish topped high on their battered sadnesses?

Terror? Here, in my heart, in my mouth, in my faith?

Show me. Show me my crusade. Show me my violence. Show me my fist raised, or even my voice. Show me my anger. Flash it back equally upon me.

But no. All that is there, is my soft voice. All that is there is my open hand. All that is there is my hope. All that is there is a soft song. All that is there is warmth.

I gave you that look, the one the moment before the strike, the one that asks in silence for you to put down your anger.

But I felt the blow before it fell, that fractional moment being the real pain.

* * *

So the crush is swallowed & burnt & see, the smoke rising to the heavens, sweet & silent. The blue skies darkened only ever so slightly, the birds picking over what remains. I sit, very very small & still there, in the grass, a scatter of wildflowers swaying to the whisper of my praying—

How beautiful, this world. I can see the restoration just there, over the hill. I can feel the breeze & there is a smell, like after spring’s first rain, welcome & startling. Familiar & forgotten.

And you, you are truly forgotten.

Souvenirs

Save please, these soft souvenirs, of snow & feather

and the russet wind chiming against the ache-old trees

sage blooms of buds clustered on the beams of winter-worn bows

I’ve felt the wine of the grapes, gurgle forth, sweetly running like the stream

I’ve dreamt the desolation of the sound, wrapped about my chest, swaddling me in cold & crying, gasping like mourner’s breath

Gladly, you always sing, so gladly, despite all these griefs, against reason—it’s like treason against humanity

I feel again, that rising chill, and winter sits soft with me…

snowy drizzle scalping me, finding every last warmth in me, ice picking, chiseling, slowly, skillfully destroying me

All this enormity, whispering in each helpless flake.

12 Weeks

So, 12 weeks ago today I started going to the gym; it all started with Barre class. I haven’t missed a week of Barre yet. But, beyond that, I also started weight lifting on Thursdays and now, go to the gym gym, like the part where people lift weights, use all sorts of strange contraptions & I, am one of them. I find this one of the strangest changes I’ve ever made. I have only a vague idea of where my weight was when I began this, and no current idea of how much I weigh & so certainly cannot tell you if or what I’ve lost. But my aim was never weight related. It was aging and pain related. Slowly it has become personal challenge related, where I think, I’m scared of this new thing, hm, maybe I can do it if I just try. But mostly, it still is just about basic health & the goal of having strong enough knees that I can hike real mountains & such. My left kneecap seems to still be having trouble tracking properly most days, my right hip still likes to click in & out depending on what I’m doing. I’ve started finding a happy routine despite these issues and hope that as things continue to strengthen these two issues will ease a fair bit and I’m actually really thankful I found the gym since winter really doesn’t seem to feel it is done with us. I miss the lake walks, but I also have no desire to be out in the cold anymore. I’m sick to death of winter. We all are. The general malaise of our entire city is palpable. Everyone is just barely hanging in there. Seriously. All anyone talks about is the exhaustion with this never ending winter. First snowfall last fall was September 19. That is over six months ago. We are going on seven months of winter. Seven months without green, or grass or flowers. Seven months of primarily indoor air and existence. It’s terrible. How can you feel grounded when your feet literally never touch the ground?

I notice my skin tone, and most everyone’s, is a slight grey. If ethnically we are white, we are beyond white verging onto corpsy paste white. I go work out and my face becomes bright red, that’s the kind of flush I have when I’m hot, and then, it fades back down to this most tired shade of exhausted white. I have started to pick the guitar up again, and I’m almost done my sweater for California, because, it is chilly there in April usually, I have knit several pairs of mittens, two hats, a shawl, finished a blanket, and have another shawl about half way complete. I am dying to spring clean, wash entrance ways, windows, doors, walls, open windows…it seems simple, but just to put away the coats and boots and winter paraphernalia would be so nice. To sit on the deck and sip coffee and listen to the birds, oh what heaven that would be. People who live other places don’t even realize—I seriously set the elliptical on the lake run setting, and love the virtual run through tree shadows & imagine myself there. My imagination may literally be keeping me from caving inward into a terrible giant black hole right now.

Anyways, twelve weeks and am I ever thankful I decided I needed to challenge myself and become healthier. I’m sure I’d be full blown insane by now. Instead I’m only semi insane. 🤪

My highlight of this week, a rare double date night, and I’m so looking forward to it. Going to go see A Quiet Place because nothing eases malaise like a horror movie. It looks scary without being supernatural or slasher, a rare find. The synopsis compares it to Alien & Jurassic Park for tension, two of my favourites ever, and is supposed to be one of the best horror flicks in a long while, so I’m so excited to go and get a good scare. Good scares are rare. It better be good. I hate predictable movies. Hate them. Watched The Visit for the first time the other day, as most M. Night Shyamalan movies I’ve seen are quirky scary unpredicatable but, I called it. And frankly, it threw in creepy just for creepy sake, which is not genuine. Anyways, didn’t really care for it. I love when tension is written in properly and not just lazily. So, I’m sure I’ll have an opinion of this movie and maybe I’ll have discovered a new director worth watching.

Anyways, off to the excitement of fourth winter…

Sudan

Trapped where all the wild things go to die, inside the grasp of such small hands, there, the grip of you lies buried, deep in my heart, where all such tragedies cry & live extra lives. But bereavement is a bitterness, a wormwood with no cleansing.

You echo, and you always will.

How often we have watched as another closed their eyes. Our world of pain, & torture, of greed, of death, of lies.

Sleep came finally, upon his quiet white skin. And God knows, we are not forgiven.