Mortality

Silo near Montezuma Wildlife Refuge
Silo near Montezuma Wildlife Refuge

There was a note attached to our morning papers informing us that the carrier has decided to retire ” after thirty plus years of getting up at 4AM.” He threw in “the rising gas prices and the dwindling subscriptions” as factors that convinced him “it doesn’t make any sense for me to continue.”

Spring has come again but a sense of mortality hangs in the air. Friends and neighbors, all close to my age, are dealing with serious health issues. The last of my parents’ siblings is gone and one of my cousins. We have sat in on a few Zoom memorials. And there’s the book I’m reading. Here are two passages from Etel Adnan’s “Shifting the Silence.”

“Almost all of my beliefs have deserted me. I take it as a kind of liberation, and anyway, they were never too many. Our houses are cluttered, our minds too, so a fire as devastating as it can be, can well clear the air, enlarge the space, make room for some silence. Year after year all we do is gather dust.”

“I need to simplify my thinking: to come to the roots of the olive trees I have planted on my island, sit close to them, look at every leaf. Start early in the morning. Then close my eyes and let the morning sun touch my face. Go to the Mediterranean at the street corner, go into its water, its salt, its acid colors, its heat. Oh Lord, let’s stop thinking. Let’s just be, and for many hours in a row, merge with this vegetal and metallic kind of consciousness which is so overpowering.”

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