Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I wrote this last year...felt right to re-post it~
Another busy week- but a good one :)

Recall with me, for a moment, how it feels to stand before something enormous--
Like the sea, when the beach is empty; or the sky at night full of stars over a quiet plain.

I stand- awestruck- at the vastness that I am trying to comprehend, and yet I know that I can not comprehend it. The enormity of the ocean, or sky, or mountainside, seems to fill up my being- as if these that take up so much space must claim my space as well.

My mind, especially when viewing the ocean, likes to use the word "nothing" to describe it, as in, "nothing but sand and water as far as the eye can see", but of course, it's NOT "nothing". It's actually everything, or everything at the moment. The sea is not empty, nor is the sky, nor are the mountains. And when standing before them they eclipse and absorb me too.

Is this the "something" in our life experience that prepares us for death?
When I think about death and the finality of it I have the same feelings as when I stand before the ocean...It's huge, it's will, or can, swallow me.

I ponder death...I peer, though not too closely, because I am not able.
And even if I were able I'm still not sure I would; and what I think I can see is deceiving.
It seems tranquil and quiet, but I strongly suspect otherwise.

What I know of death is the same as what a person knows about the ocean from a photograph...or better still, what they don't know, what they can not see.
The vastness, the depth, all the huge and tiny things swimming just beneath the suface, things that one could never imagine, existing right there under the rippling blue green water.

One of my childhood friends died almost a few years ago, she was 33.

She had battled cancer off and on since she was 12, and finally the treatment caught up with her. She passed into death, and when I saw her--in her casket-- this friend I had loved and laughed with, she was no longer there. What remained was a shell...her spirit was gone. She got caught up in the tide and was swept out, past the surf, past the big waves...way out there...where I can not reach her.

Sometimes I think of her and of all the things we learned together as children...and I wish I knew, or understood, what she knows now.

I stand at the shore and I feel so small. I stand under the midnight sky and I feel so tiny and transient.

Is it work, or family, or love that makes us feel more permanent and less temporary?

Or is it simply that we long for the country of our eternity...which is not here...and we will never feel as though we quite fit in because we are not supposed to?

I understand more this year about death than I ever have- and the one thing I do know is that love is greater than death and I take great comfort in that.

My love is never wasted.

It might be mis-understood, or not needed, or even unwanted...but it's never wasted. What I send out into the world, what I invest in others- comes back to me.

Death can not contain it, or stop it. I know that for certain...and I'm thankful.


kate said...

Cadence is sooooooo cute... it breaks my heart to think of how sick she is.

Hope you are having a good night!

Anonymous said...

when i look at the ocean i don't see nothing, i see eternity: the rhythm of eternity.
foam said...

nothing can prepare us for death ... even waiting for death - imminently waiting for death - can never prepare us for the moment of its arrival. any more than waiting for birth prepares us for the arrival of the child.

we need not view death as the flip side of life ... as an entity or state that requires conquering, remedying, or fixing in any way. any more than the wolf's wildness requires remedying.

i do not think of death in terms of proportions - i.e. vastness. its an absolute concept. death -- just IS. period. i view death with the same awe as i view the wildness of an animal.

indeed, a corpse has little resemblance to the entity who animated that corpse. one's spirit - its what makes one look like onself, in a way.

death ... contains life. for, without death ~ how much value would we attach to existence, to time, to vibrance?

from the moment of birth, we begin to die. death IS -- each and every nanosecond ... it never begins ... it never ends ... it just IS.

truth - there's the transient.

X. Dell said...

It's often been said that those afraid of dying are actually afraid of living. I don't know if that's true or not. Regardless, I would tend to see death as part of life, not something that is the antithesis of it.

When I was a child, my best friend died suddenly, horribly. I always felt it so unfair that she, a good person to the core, would have to go when the wicked live to 100.

I never really got a chance to grieve, for my parents kept it a secret from me until after the funeral (easy to do--I was very sick that week). While rationally, I've known she's been dead for almost forty years now, part of me has never accepted that she's gone. I've always wondered if I did her memory a service or a disservice by letting it haunt me to the present.

I guess what I'm saying is that a life isn't (or, I guess shouldn't be) measured by its longevity or lack thereof. It's measured simply by the fact that it existed.

We will all go, someday. No amount of ascetism will stop that. In the meantime, we have the time of our life. And as William Saroyan said, "In the time of your life, live."

Methinks I'm quoting Saroyan a bit too much these days:-) Well, I could quote John Lennon: "I'm just sittin' here doin' time."

Malinda777 said...

I don't think it's possible to sit at the ocean and not feel. I lived on the Gulf Coast for a few years. I'm not even really a water person per say, but something about sitting by the ocean and letting the waves, the sound of them, and the smell of the water just is mind boggling.

Silence there says volumes. Great post, so well moved me and reminded me of the times the ocean washed away my troubles, and washed back in needed guidance. Ask a million people what the ocean does for them, you'll get a million answers, and ALL OF THEM RIGHT :)

LADY LUXIE said...

Your love most certainly isn't ever wasted...

Sometimes the thought that someday I will pass on gives me such times it gives me comfort..

Nevertheless...just thinking of the inevitable makes me value the seconds I live right now...

Enemy of the Republic said...

These are words for thought. We may go to the shore either this weekend or the next. I think I will print out this entry.

Gardener Greg said...

I can't express what I feel so let me just say "wonderful post"


SpongyBones said...

Thank you for this post. I will try to tell you what it meant to me, but right now I lack the words.