“Just one more thing. . .“
End of the Year Ruminations
Winter is coming. With all its discontents. Remarkable how time still flies bringing its usual wear and tear. Body aging, mind going, stuff taking up physical and mental space, house crying out for repair.
All the things undone. Crawling out of a pandemic means so many waylaid plans piling up and falling off the back burner. There is much left to do. Hopefully, I have many miles to go before I sleep.
When I am reminded of time, it’s hard not to become melancholy. Mortality rises up then and says in greeting, “Remember me?” Indications abound, in leaves falling helplessly to rest on the ground, in naked twigs and branches stark and rigid against the coldly indifferent sky, in my body morphing before my eyes as it drifts along time’s currents, I am reminded. Sleep is coming.
I have always been curious about death. When I was very young I would sometimes say this phrase repeatedly before falling asleep, “When I die I will never, ever come back again…when I die I will never, ever come back again…” over and over like a chant. Eventually, something would happen which I still find hard to explain. It felt like my mind went blank or was no longer my own. I felt nameless and shapeless. When I tried to picture what was happening I saw myself climbing into a small boat and being pushed far out to sea. All alone, in the dark, unafraid.
I can’t say that I am fearless now when thinking about the inevitability of death. So many questions that can’t be answered while safely ensconced on the shore. Is there a there, out there? And even though I want answers to such questions I find that literal ideas about what happens after death very unsatisfying. If I can wrap my mind around it, it can’t be true. I want the infinite to be beyond anything my finite material brain can come up with. I want it to be beyond all imaginings, beyond words. It has to remain inexplicable to me now and that’s really how I prefer it, though whatever it is pulls hard on my heart from a distance.
When my time comes and I am on the verge of taking the leap across the Big Divide, I‘ve decided I want Lt. Columbo in his signature wrinkled raincoat to pick me up. Once it’s time to depart he’ll say, “You ready kid?” Then trailing cigar smoke behind us we’ll make our way to his old heap of a Peugeot, he’ll shoo Dog off the passenger seat and gesture for me to get in.
Swing low, sweet chariot.