Feels like bullshit and politics when another shooting tears apart a community. Here we are on Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday and in Florida neither of these matter. The ashes smeared across our foreheads, liberating us with the reminder that we are from ashes and to ashes shall return, and if that is the case and our mortal lives are short and brief, we can live as much as we are able, and some of us look at these bodies of ours for so long as unfamiliar instruments, and I remember being sixteen or so and picking up a friend's guitar and turning it upside down to fit my left-handed body and no matter what I did with the thing it remained awkward and foreign, and I didn’t ever figure out what a chord was supposed to sound like and I never did quite figure out how I was supposed to live in my body – I mean, it was just this thing where my head and thoughts were and the best thing about smoking was feeling the smoke sucked into my lungs and when I exhaled I knew I had a body but was not sure of its boundaries, and when, maybe fifteen or twenty years ago I finally got used to having one, it started degrading and falling apart and now the various gimps and grunts are taken for granted and every hike or long swim is precious and savored and even though the expiration date stamped on me is well beyond the “best before” date, I know that when things get a little funky they’re still alright, usually, and so I feel for the first time that I’m moving into a period of life where I know that it is finite and limited and that’s all the more reason to continue to try to figure out how to take the huge jumble of thoughts and put them into some semblance of coherence, at least a stray thought or two, because the big bundle of thoughts that have beat around in my head for most of these fifty-six years will probably remain there because despite the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written, none of them even begin to resemble the way I think, and when I clicked onto CNN this evening to see if maybe Trump has resigned or finally been impeached or arrested I’m instead pulled into the headline of another school shooting and anything I was thinking about Lent feels trite, and my fist clenched and shaking in the air feels pathetic and infantile, and when I think about the death of my parents, which knocked me over with grief – my God, my parents were older and sick and even though I knew they would die someday - when it happened my body grieved, and how do I even think how these parents and sisters and friends right now are feeling and thinking and their bodies and hearts are overloaded and for us it’s another CNN headline.
Lent still matters because it can be an opportunity for us to pay attention to the difference between what we want and what we need and after a year of this presidency I think we need someone with a voice that can thread its way through so much hesitation between people who think they might agree with something but aren’t sure if they do and don’t want to be seen standing out and what I think what we need is to take out a tablecloth, a plain one will do even if it’s been bunched up in a hutch or drawer and is pretty wrinkled, and just spread it over the dining room table and simply smooth it with your hand because it feels nice to have that touch of cotton or linen between your palms and the table, and I don’t know what makes more sense – a cup of coffee or maybe even dinner, and just invite someone over and talk with them and remember
change happens in bits and pieces and big chunks and huge massive events and in the quietest of moments with maybe only a candle or two burning and not much left in the bottle of wine but there’s a little something left to swirl in the bottom of your glass and you can watch the glycerins streak down the glass before you say anything else and maybe in those little moments one of us will have an idea we can act upon and in a few years will remember that dinner or shared pot of tea and see it as the moment when we decided that the reasons for not doing something no longer meant anything
and you and I may have something to say to each other.
birch and grasses alone on the snow, grey sky indistinguishable. the flat world falls into the edge of time, lifeless, dull wedge of horizon and soundless ...