Total Pageviews

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Sometimes you can sense the changes as they happen, though you're too deeply immersed to see the transformation.

As I sit out here on my patio, nervously avoiding my newly installed Skype program (while I desperately want to try it out, what will I do if someone actually calls and sees me without make-up, unwashed hair, and from the unflattering angle of the camera?), small birds flit mere feet above me adding little touches to their nest. In the metal grooves of the patio roof, they have found tiny hiding places from which they can easily dart down for breakfast and keep a mischievous eye out for the neighborhood cats.

The birds had a field day a few weeks ago after the severe storms and tornadoes. So many bits of insulation from shredded houses were strewn about; the birds greedily gathered them up to pad their cozy little beds with warmth. I sense this may backfire on them as the temperatures begin to reach up into the 90's. They will fly off into the trees during the day to seek cooler air, and return to sweat out the night in their self-made steam rooms.

Today is supposed to be the end of the world, according to a man who believes it to be so. What a wonderful experiment in human nature! Someone has looked in the Good Book for an end to his problems, sifted through numerology to justify his claim, and found a following of people craving the same morbid, self-righteous drama. It's the ultimate vengeance for them, I suppose. "Look at us! We were right! The rest of you are toast! We're better than you and get to live forever while you get swallowed up by earthquakes FOR MONTHS TO COME!!" You think they were not asked to join in any reindeer games?

There will never be an end, that is what is more irksome to me. Sure, billions of years from now, the earth may disintegrate, blow apart, something catastrophic and horrible. But will it end? No, it just becomes part of something else. Bits of matter will bond with other bits of something or other in space, and huge conglomerations will regenerate, become something new. There's no end; we're living eternity right now, as a people.

Just not individually. That's what drives people insane. Alone, we cannot persevere beyond the scope of our few, limited years granted us by the good grace of God, or the universe, or chance.

No, we can't feel the change as it happens. Occasionally there are drastic changes that slam into us, slice through our souls, cause us to curse others and question our humanity. But most often, we experience much bigger changes that we don't even notice until years later. That's what it means to grow, to learn, to make the most of the time we have.

Meanwhile, here I sit on my patio with a cup of tea, my laptop, my cats staring at me through the screen door, enjoying my time here and now, watching the blissfully ignorant birds eye me warily as they look for more bits of precious debris to better fill their home with treasures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Our memories compose our lives, rather than our lives being composed of memories. They influence us, challenge our decisions, bring us to tears or laughter at inopportune moments. We share them together at gatherings, we catch up with friends after extended absences and share the details of our lives, which are nothing more than our memories. At weddings, we share the memories from two lives up to that moment; at funerals, we share the memories of our dearly departed.

We share the memories we have so that we live on. Without these memories, we are empty shells. Imparting them to others allows them to thrive, grow, morph and be retold. Even if they are never again mentioned, they are part of someone else for a brief moment. They are shadows of our most important moments briefly re-illuminated before drifting at the edges of our collective vision once more. By reading this, you are bringing my memories back to life, however briefly, absorbing them into your own consciousness long enough to feel a tiny slice of my life.

My earliest memory is of my first nightmare. I was perhaps two years old, if not younger, and woke myself and my mother beside me by my screaming. In my dream, I was being chased by giant shapes presenting themselves as a large, orange, vague impression of a lion with a gigantic spider as big as a house coming at me from the opposite side. As I opened my eyes to evade my predators, the only light in the room came from the hallway, spreading its comforting illumination through the door standing ajar. My mother sleepily hushed me, "It's ok, Mommy's here." She wrapped herself protectively around me as she went back to sleep. I, in the warm, safe cocoon of her body, kept searching the corners for the shadows of the monsters until my eyes grew heavy. Lulled by the only sense of safety a child knows, I soon fell back asleep to sweeter dreams.

In the last year of my father's life, his memories were compounded by hallucinations. Who are we to say these were any less real? They were happening to him, so were they not memories?

My life has so many moments that make up who I am. If I don't write them down, if I don't share them, if you don't read them, what will happen when I lose them to dementia? You are the caretakers of these little moments, these crystals of time that have shaped who I am. If I die tomorrow, then you can bring me back to life in these words. The words within these pages are who I am, who I love, who I want to be, who I never was. And by reading them, you become the author of my life all over again.