A friend observed recently that I’m running on auto-pilot. I admit it: I’m on hold. I’m not in a funk; I don’t have ennui; I’m not even in a mood. I might say I’m on Winter Break, but it is more of a pregnant pause — more libros interruptus than anti-climax — the wait before I finally hold in my hands that bundle of joy I carried many months. Soon, the day will arrive and I will embrace my child, wishing I could forever delay the inevitable disappointment that follows, seeing its flaws and having to realize those are my flaws made undeniable.
In yoga class yesterday, as we all assumed half boat pose, the building shook with a low-pitched rumble. It was as if we had synchronized with some larger energy or, like an array of antennas, we had picked up the earth’s deep moan. The prosaic reality that it was a bulldozer did nothing to diminish the excitement we all felt. Consciousness lives in twilight. Awareness is a switch.
Is it any wonder then, that my thoughts have turned away from birth to my death. I wonder what place is most fitting for my memorial service? Understand, I think such services are for the living, not the deceased, and I’m confident my interest in everything expires with my last breath. So, I don’t wish to dictate from beyond the grave what people should do to bid me farewell. If someone wants to hold a Catholic Mass in Latin or sit shiva, so be it. At the very least, that would honor my sense of irony.
This is a silly exercise in so far as one could gather all of my friends in one room and no one would have to wait for the bathroom. But, you never really know who might turn out for the final show. We all connect in ways we fail to recognize. The big social events — birthdays, weddings and funerals — remind us of those connections. Though funerals are the only celebration the guest of honor misses. “Nice to see you, thanks for coming.” Which leads me to wonder if UNM Continuing Education does funerals. They certainly have rooms of various sizes to accommodate a small clutch of friends or an unexpected outpouring.
Of course, the obvious place to review my life and passing is outside. Although I’ve spent most of my life inside and have many glorious memories indoors, I’ve seldom felt more alive — more connected — than outside, on a trail, in a clearing, by a stream. I know several people who are out there much more so than I am, people who connect to deeper wilderness for longer expeditions. I am lazy and sometimes fearful, but I am sustained by vistas and completed by walking in the wild.
I’m so lucky I don’t have to go far for this sensation. I feel it watching a flicker bathe in a gutter. It’s in me among the cosmos and morning glories. It’s on my doorstep and everywhere I look when I really look.
Last night, I stopped to watch clouds stream from south to north. They formed a patchwork of bright white alternating with deep blue. They rushed over me like time-lapse photography or someone pulling gauze over my head. It was beautiful, though it made me regret being alone except for the dog, who puts sniffing and licking way ahead of seeing. The earth is in constant motion, seen and unseen. Enjoy the brief ride. mjh