Thursday, December 24, 2009

great dane on a raft...with my folks...sorry, its just a deep day.

I awoke this morning to the news that some time last night, my favorite living poet, and acquaintance, had slipped past the grasp of the cancer that raged his body.  I'm currently at Christmas Holiday in Florida, with my family.

It must be such a relief and such acute anguish on Christmas Eve.  The irony of a long battle with cancer, a husband, wife and kids all understanding the stakes...that his only reprieve from pain will be when he closed his eyes forever.

I pondered my distant friend and his new home, over a view of a distraught and stormy sea today.

The ocean has always entranced me.  She has an eternal shade to her costume, that makes her appear as a Patrick Nagel painting...beautiful and mysterious, unable to be known. Distant and untouchable, yet the ocean's deadly nature beckons the image of a wild animal, more than any mistress.  She will kill you in a moment, without the interruption of a single wave on any beach.  Perhaps the deadly nature grabs my attention.  I see into forever when I scan the horizon and see nothing but water.

Morbid or not, it reminds me of death.  The ultimate calm, quiet, nothing.  The final doorway, through which we all will pass.

The twisted part of me can never be held at bay for more than a few hours at best...and I think its high time I rolled with how the Maker made me, rather than fighting it.

The sea draws upon me the image of my own dead, mother, father, brother, and most recently, my favorite Great Dane...traveling on a raft, upon the seas.  They travel together in harmony, awaiting the arrival of another, in a day, in a year, in a decade...they are infinitely patient.  They have no desire, nor remorse for those that join their ranks.  They are dead...but they are special, because they are My Dead.  I talk to my Maker about my dead.  I visit with them, trusting that the Power that made me can be trusted in love to get the messages across.

It has taken me many miles, nautical miles if we may, to understand the nature of death (as I do now, and it continues to unfold).  I fought long and hard to make peace with my dead.  I'd recommend it to anyone, as I don't see how any peace can come without permission to leave and commitment to communion.  It has helped me transition the waters of my deeper regions from distraught and stormy to a more pleasant roll...perhaps someday I'll reach a wonderful calm.

Until then, I'll hold my picture of my parents, my brother, Moose, and perhaps a coffee drinking poet, to ride along the waters of nowhere on their way to forever.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Connections

The ultimate Christmas connection, obviously, links directly to Jesus being God's connection to His creation.  I try, therefore, to make Christmas about connections within my own mind.  Gifts become a tangible point of reference or connection with another.  A physical expression of an internal affinity, love, or appreciation...given to another out of (hopefully) selfless gratitude. 

There have been many gifts I've received over the years that link me to those special people that gave them.  I'd list a few, but hopefully, you've already drifted into a mental path of your own special gifts and those that honored you.  I'm making a list.  A list of people I need to connect with...and I'm making new rules for myself.  The old rules tell me that if I can't give a 'good' gift, or a 'real' gift, then there isn't any point in trying.  To do nothing, becomes a better strategy than the half-try...and, frankly, its easier.  But, this year, I've got some new rules...  I'm making a list, and I might even check it twice.  I've bought a new list of cards, and even if its just a two or three line note, or a short phone call, I'm going to re-touch as many people as I can on my list.  They touched me, and I remain grateful. 

One of the people on my list, is someone that I don't even know very well.  Yet, he continues to touch my life.  I've included my favorite token of his workmanship below, and maybe it will spur us all on to a Christmas full of wonderful connections, re-connections, and wonderful gifts (big or small).

Coffee Moments

It's not about the coffee.
We meet there, yes,
and drink as though
our lives depend on it.

But java's just an excuse
to gather, to share a part
of who we are, to stay
reasonably connected.

We searched for paradise
and never found it --yet here
with  cup in hand, perhaps
we're a latte closer.

                      -Jim Chastain

Jim remains in his last chapter of this journey, but I need to let him know that he's created fuel for me, he's fed me with intangible food, and helped me make sense out of the swirl of misty thoughts and emotions in my mind.  Thank you Jim.