A very long time ago I wrote what I considered prose or maybe it was poetry; I’m not very good at identifying genres. Be this as it may, I will share with you (over time) my own genre entitled: Thoughts.
OLD SWEATER: Her aged hands hold knitting needles as if in a fencing duel. Skeins of yarn wend their way out of her basket. Click/click/click… Fabric is woven into a meshwork of color. Her stitches conjoin threads for the creation. A whittled form emerges from her needled skill. Her love is its texture.
BURYING: Street faces serve as sentinels for the funeral procession. Darkly clothed mourners stand in sorrow-laden silence. A warm breeze carries religious rites to my wintery soul. Painful emotions kill my heart as the knife they drew from yours. Your tomb awaits and I throw dirt instead of a blanket over you.
Here are a few that come immediately to mind: One Another; Our Thoughts; Our History; Our Beliefs; Our Humanity; Our Purpose; Our Natural World, and Our Stories.
You may ask me why I even ask such a question that has so many distinctive reasons for but even one entry on my list. I do this because whether we know it or not, we each submit to the ultimate carnage.
I have an example; simple yet so complex. It takes place in the Serengeti; an ecosystem in the geographical region in Africa located north of Tanzania that is 12,000 square miles. I bring you here for the elephants; a Keystone Species to the Serengeti. Keystone is a word that means foundation.
Elephants on the Serengeti eat 350 pounds of food a day. If elephants did not drop their digested foodstuff there would be no fertilization for the grasslands to grow. If that were to happen, it would change and ultimately destroy the Serengeti and all its inhabitants as we know it today.
I conclude from this that all FOUNDATIONS on our Earth matter! So I ask again: “What Are We Truthfully Killing?”
If thought is energy and we know that energy is always conserved—meaning it cannot be created or destroyed—then why do we spend so much time and energy in our thoughts?
My thoughts these days run a gamut of when will I absolutely be beyond last year living with an infection intent on killing me and its afterthoughts now in other parts of my body. I’d never thought about an end-game to illness because I’d never faced IT before. So one of my thoughts is: I’m alive isn’t that enough? My answer: hell no! I want the ME I used to be and that just isn’t going to happen—ever!
That thought brings on the poor me melody and I want so much to yell aloud: “Get out! Just get the hell out of my body and LEAVE me alone. Each of us knows that this type of self-pity takes a lot of energy so thank goodness energy cannot be destroyed or I’d be in real trouble.
I had one life and I now have another that draws me to my purpose of this life. It changes, you know, our direction in life, for any number of reasons. The thoughts of my body demand that I work hard to heal and to rest when tired. Yet that which is energy gives me bursts of power to talk with others about the value of our stories and my novel “The Respite” and my book that asks the question “Postcards from God/How Do Angels Fly” and an essay on energy and a new effort entitled: “The Energy that is Compassion.”
Oh, I just had another thought! Energy is a word that means power, force, vigor and my favorite: get-up-and-go! And I shall!
AN ASTRONAUT: It was winter when he landed at Colorado State University—many years ago now—a Civil Engineer alumni. His title: Kent V. Rominger, Captain USN (now retired) & NASA Astronaut (former). In those days, to have a few NOT public moments with an astronaut was rare. I served as Kent’s—he insisted—usher during his campus visit. I asked: “So Kent, which is more thrilling for you: flying a jet off the deck of an aircraft carrier or piloting the NASA Columbia Shuttle?
Astronaut Rominger’s answer—as I mentioned—is NOT public. So, why bring this up at all? Because in many ways we emulate astronauts in that we must also calibrate and investigate our parameters in order to have the best chance of survival: they in outer space and we in Earth’s atmosphere.
A THOUGHT: Yes, there are those among us, like Rominger, who achieve great zeniths in an attempt to understand the unanswerable. And, we who never leave the gravitational pull of Earth also endeavor to understand. And also like the astronauts if we calculate wrongly there are consequences.
[Kent Rominger: Flew as pilot on STS-73 (1995), STS-80 (1996) and STS-85 (1997) and was crew commander on STS-96 (1999) and STS-100 (2001). A veteran of five space flights, Rominger logged over 1,600 hours in space. He also logged over 7,000 flying hours in over 35 types of aircraft and 685 carrier landings.]
Title and first paragraph below from The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection.
“…I sometimes wonder how things would have gone if I’d noticed at the time just that one essential detail that I never appreciated until so many years afterwards. If I had noticed it—well, I suppose the course of three lives would have been entirely altered. Somehow—that’s a very frightening thought.”
It was late at night and I couldn’t get to sleep so I grabbed one of Christie’s books and randomly opened to the page noted in the above paragraph. An irony, don’t you think, of how many ways our life lessons materialize; well at least until we learn them. I’ve assessed singular essential details throughout my years and like Christie writes: “I never appreciated until so many years afterwards.”
It is a frightening thought of how we impact others; with and without our awareness.
November 23, 2010 – On that day I was beleaguered by previous lectures still swirling in my mind. On that day we were to visit an outdoor diorama that covered a full block in an old town in Russia (less vital than Volgograd or Uglich; towns we’d visited days before). On that day I chose to forgo the eddy about to assault my mind and instead, sat my bum down on a wooden bench in a small courtyard nearby the diorama. It was there, on that day, for the first time that I experienced the significance of the word freedom.
Wearing dark blue pants, a long-sleeved white shirt with Russian lettering on the pocket, the large man stood rigid alongside the curb across the street from where I was sitting. It was, as he leaned into the oncoming traffic that I first saw the metal wand that flicked off sunlight like empty cans hit by bullets at target practice. He raised his wand and motioned to an oncoming car to pull to the curb. The driver didn’t ignore the slight gesture. (Had it been me, I would have missed the nuance.)
The male driver pulled to a quick stop and placed both hands on the wheel. The woman in the front seat sat upright. The boy (six or seven) who had been leaning forward scooted back into the seat. I sensed anxiety from the body language of the occupants in the car. The uniformed man walked slowly around the car, tapping with the wand at doors, windows, trunk until he hit hard on the engine hood. This gesture drew the driver to exit the car and open the hood with great haste; then he stood back. After poking at the engine, the wand drew the woman from the car and moved her to the sidewalk. The wand then commanded the driver to open the trunk. He did and stepped back again. Everything in the trunk was revealed, scattered and tossed about until the wand seemed satisfied. It was now the boy’s turn.
On that day it was shocking to see a father open a door for his son while the wand prodded the boy from the car and held him in place until he finished telling the boy something that I couldn’t hear, let alone understand. So, on that day, as I sat on my bum, I decided never to take my American freedoms for granted nor squander them on convention.
To this day, I wonder if the boy, on that day, took for granted the imprisonment of his thoughts.