Monday, November 23, 2009

toward the within

Hi. Now where were we?

I'd apologize for the silence, but I'd imagine if you track through this little bulletin board you'd find a lot of those as daily posts turned to weekly theen turned to yearly and so on, so let's just skip it. Still, a shame for me to part ways with you on such a down note.

I'd like to say that my absence had to do with grieving, that the house was shrouded in black drapery and thoughtful candlelight for the past week in light of the loss described below, but that hasn't been the case, at least on a physical level. More to the point the firecracker of need, such that it is (and wouldn't that be a nice item to see in a roadside blow-'em-up stand next July), slipped out of my hand, had its fuse silenced, whatever fits best at this point, really. It's an elusive thing, the desire to show up every day and face down the potential nothing that could be looking back.

I'm talking about the empty page, mostly. But I suppose we can touch a little bit on the Big Issue that has sort of consumed this inadvertantly aptly named space since I flipped aside the passive 'Closed' sign. (Strange timing, that.) Maybe it's a subject that's kind of been on my mind for quite a few years, maybe even since I first became aware of the concept of death. Hell, I'd imagine this is the case for most people on some level.

I don't know if I was what you'd call someone who grew up obsessed with The Big End, at least not in a manner as someone would picture. No Christina Ricci-esque dark ensembles or eyeliner, a casual but not wardrobe-defining interest in what unbeknownst to me was known as "goth rock," of course, but not much outside of the typical suburban upbringing with a lot of laughter and 0% interest in, say, cutting on a Saturday night while Dead Can Dance percolates on the Discman.

Still, I remember quite clearly how The Fear manifested when I was young, somewhere around eight or nine. You can't sleep, you suddenly become very, very conscious of the silence in the room and the whirring inside your head and suddenly, for reasons that maybe only my goofy Irish Catholic DNA can explain, you have thoughts of The Void. The howling black nothing/something that awaits at the end, the impenetrable unknowableness of it all which, for a vaguely introverted kid like me led to a crushing consciousness of my own breathing, a heaviness across my chest and, soon after, a helpless wet-eyed vigil at my mother's bedside as I silently attempted to will her awake with my mind. (Which was successful for a reason that maybe only parents know.)

But that consciousness of death, isn't really why I showed up here. This is part of the game as you grow older, as I alluded to below. The longer you're around, the higher the probability goes that you're going to have to face down that potential nothing that could be looking back. It just seems that for us over the past few months, we've gotten our share of practice. Prior to saying goodbye to our dear friend Shenoa last week we also lost a housecat Maja (from the Polish and pronounced "My-uh," a name my wife chose in reference the fat cartoon bumblebee found here). She was a strange, difficult, damaged and yet loving and beautiful creature who we lost suddenly, struck by a car out in front of our house in an appalling, even gauche reminder that loss can also come in a blink of an eye as easily as it can slowly come at you from the horizon.

I started writing a similarly long-winded tribute to that little beast a short time after that happened, and maybe I'll share those in-the-moment remembrances here next time as this seems to be going on long enough for this evening. Might make for a good read, and besides, theoretically everything has to go somewhere.


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