The art of living well and the art of dying well are one. ~ Epicurus
I need to write about my friend fighting cancer but I am not. The fall leaves are golden and she still makes me laugh. There will be a time to write and to remember. Now is for being silly and making crafts together like joyful children. Now is for tracing leaves onto felt and for teasing. Tomorrow will be tomorrow.
But what we have lived
comes back to us.
We see more.
From “A Tree Telling of Orpheus” by Denise Levertov
There’s a pond just ten minutes from my office. I’ve been past it so many times without stopping. It’s on a dirt road. It’s that little bit inconvenient. And I’m busy. Heck, we’re all busy, all the time, every day it seems. My car will get dirty, I tell myself.
I took the dirt road today. I pulled over and parked and let my car get dusty. Got out and walked the shoreline. The ducks preened in the sun while turkey vultures circled prey on the far side. There’s a boat tipped over with a huge hole in the bottom. It reminded me of Grandma Alice teaching me how to catch sunfish for fish fries. Bobbers and bib overalls. Oily rainbows reflecting off sunfish scales. Grandma as giddy as me with each catch.
It’s good to get off the paved roads and pull over–good to cast lines.
Harvested the last few potatoes of the season as we hit the hot of true summer here in Southern California. I’ve been adopted by a Mourning Dove I call, in an instance of bland uncreativity, Maury.
Maury follows me around the garden as I putter. He moves to the closest tree and sings his beautiful, mournful song. Watches me dig, plant, compost.
He draws in enough air to fill his chest in order to sing his big songs. And I think, that’s it. That’s what it first takes to make things and give them openly–exaggerated intakes.