November 12, 2008

A long day at work feeding work to India. Whenever I work days like this I feel as if all I’m really doing is sawing the tree branch I just happen to be sitting on. Or, holding the tail of a tiger real tight, afraid to let go because then I’ll be eaten. But what can you do? That’s the way things go. I don’t know if I’m actively contributing to my own professional obsolesence or not, but I do know these are very long days.

A lovely night tonight with a real chill in the air. The temp is going down to 50, and for the first time the smell of burning wood is in the air. Lovely. I walk out onto the patio and it glistens bright silver in the light of the full moon. I dip my toes in the water, and the moon is so bright I’m casting long spooky shadows, and I can even read the pool thermometer. It’s 52 degrees, so I don’t think they’ll be swimming any time soon, but I like the feel of the cool water on my toes. I swish my feet back and forth and watch glistening green diamonds of water ripple across the pool. memories of summer, realities of fall. It feels almost magical.

I found out from my friend Jack today that he has The Doc’s ashes and plans to scatter them in a big open field in Strong, Maine when he travels up there to spend Thanksgiving with friends. I think the Doc would have liked that – he always did prefer the back roads and rural areas of northern New England to anywhere else.

If I had my choice (and I doubt I will), when my time comes I’d like to have Tracey take my ashes down to the Mississippi River in Gramercy, Louisiana and scatter them there. Why Gramercy? I dunno, it’s a kind of out of the way place I found one day while searching for the River in a variety of places. Gramercy, like untold other towns along the river, has a street with small houses that leads to the levee, then up over the levee, and there’s the River.

The riverbank in Gramercy is hardly a sightseeing feast for the senses; rather, it’s hardscrabble and unremarkable, strewn with all kinds of river debris and trash that time forgot paying no mind as the River’s silty brown water lapped easily against the shore. The afternoon was mercilessly hot, but what was very cool was to stand there and watch a large container ship glide silently past even though it seemed only 30-50 yards away. I waved to some guy way up on top; he didn’t wave back. But that was OK – I loved that moment in time, and I can think of far worse places to have my earthly remains freed.

A happy Veterans Day to all those who have served our country and defended its freedoms in both time of war and peace. Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has a great YouTube tribute.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:10 | Comments (2)
2 Comments »
  1. GWS,
    Here is a thought by Thich Nhat Hanh from his book: Peace Is Every Step: the path of Mindfulness in Everyday life. It was in my Hospice newsletter.

    I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’”
    That day there was a wind blowing and, after a while, I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. I was so happy. I bowed my head, knowing that I have a lot to learn from that leaf.

    Comment by Pete — November 12, 2008 @ 7:31 am


  2. A lovely entry, Pete – thanks for sending it.

    That’s why Tracey loves the McDougal Nipple Cactus (yes there really is such a thing!) that I planted on the anniversary of the death of her favorite rabbit (Marble). She had saved some of his cocoa puffs for posterity – OK, that’s kind of strange – but I convinced her to let me fertilize the bush with them and it has since really taken off. For her the bush is now a part of marble that will always be alive.

    So now we call it the Marble Memorial McDougal Nipple Cactus. Even though it doesn’t look much like a cactus anymore, it’s just a happy bush…

    Comment by The Great White Shank — November 12, 2008 @ 11:15 am


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