Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In the darkness

Yesterday was my mother's birthday. She is now 77 years old and it is doubtful how long she will remain on this earth as she tugs and yanks on the cord that binds her to this existence. She is anxious "to go home" she says but twice she has released her hold and twice been shoved back. Home is not ready for her it seems. She struggles against the ties that now bind and gag her instead of accepting the decree and living what time is left to the fullest. Maybe that is why she has been denied a one-way ticket home, because she chooses not to live.

Life is a creation of moments and memories, a creation made by each person, a creation that begins in the excited fires of discovery that soon palls into a deeply rutted road in which we trap ourselves, blaming everything and everyone around us for our failure to enjoy what we have: not enough money, not enough time, not enough joy, not enough things, not enough, never enough. Complaints become the norm and the excitement of discovery and greeting those friendly elements that meant home and safety to us we forget or think ourselves too mature, too adult, too far above to appreciate any more, finding fault and creating the first stirrings of a darker horizon with what we cannot do instead of what we can. I am just as guilty. Once burned, twice shy is the old saying.

The country gentleman reminded me last night as we spoke in the darkness that I color my view of the future with darker colors, avoiding pain and anything that might lead to pain. I seemed to have forgotten that there is pain in birth, that we emerge from a safe, warm, and nurturing environment, thrust into a shockingly harsh, bright cold that borders on madness. We are briefly abandoned, blind and seeking, handled roughly, our protective coating ripped away, until finally we hear the voice that soothed and comforted us in the darkness. We learn to cope and as our eyes and our bodies adapt to our new environment we learn to explore, getting stronger and surer, finding treasure and pleasure we never dreamed possible while we lay suspended and warm and safe in the darkness.

As we grow older, we learn to fear the dark, forgetting how it once was, and we learn to hide in the darkness, but we seldom find comfort and safety in the darkness as we once did. Last night, I remembered how it was, a comforting voice laughing in my ear, while in the background we were wrapped in darkness while crickets sang in the grass and stars popped out in a sweeping spray of winking light and shimmering colors on the edge of awareness. I remembered how much I missed the simple sweep of a night sky full of stars and the music of crickets and friendship and I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and grateful to share my memories and my dreams, and even my fears. The country gentleman was right. I spend too much time weighing the future against the past, expecting pain where none has been offered, and wary of a sheep in wolf's clothing when I should just give in and enjoy the excitement of discovery and the peace and calm that come with every new experience, every single creative thought, and each and every moment of sharing.

Trouble will come soon enough and each moment's absence is precious. Home is here and not in some far off dream of paradise. Swords of fire guard the gate, but they are no more a deterrent than a hot August day when the merciless sun glares down from a brassy sky. There is shelter and calm and home in the darkness and a joyful voice as guide and companion when the sun goes down and the cool silver orb of the moon rises in a black sky full of soft, shimmering, colored lights where the crickets sing in the darkness.

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