You read the obituaries every day not only for the confirmation that you are not listed among them. The key five words there are not only for the affirmation, particularly upon hearing the gentle man you liked, but you also valued as a friend and craftsman is gone, and you didn’t say goodbye, that you thought “better him than me,” that you hated that thought, that you hated yourself for thinking it, that nonetheless you are glad it wasn’t you, was someone else, just not him, just not someone you knew. You weren’t in the obituaries today and when you are gone, you won’t be there to read it anyway, and you want think “better him than you,” and you promise you will forgive those that think it.
There is a heaviness to the sky a weightiness belied by the gray of the clouds, even the departing sun seems to whisper that it will be replaced by rain in short order. You feel the weight bearing down, as the heat of the day dissipates, and although the first drops have not yet fallen, you know that it is best to be within when the rain begins for it will do so without warning and with little care for your presence, for this is how Spring demands your attention.
He is never certain what to do on days like this one, when the winter takes a particularly nasty turn, the temperature hovers at utter emptiness, and the wind elects to try to enfold everything it can reach in a coat of frost, that bleaches life away. He walks each day, through the nearby park if the weather is the least bit cooperative, through the neighborhood when not, where at least he can take a small shelter from the wind in the shadow of houses closed up tightly, life walled away within, smarter, he imagines than he is, his fingers ill-gloved, slowly losing all feeling, but this is his practice, something he does because it requires doing, heeding an edict from an unspoken voice. And later emerging from a hot shower, feeling limbs restored, he glances at the weather in hopes the next day will be kinder, and slow in coming.
Today was downright exhausting, and my hour long walk along the river left me dripping and drooping. It wasn’t different than most days, same time, same place, and the usual 756 miles, according to my old friend Orion, who was watching from his usual perch, unseen, as he prefers it by day. When I was done, I started to complain about how I felt, when Orion interjected, “Just be thankful you’re not in Florida today, its hotter by far, and your usual walk would have covered a full 930 miles today, and there you’d have reason perhaps to complain just a bit.” Heading home to shower, I called out to Orion, “You know you are one heavenly pain in the ass.” “Yeah,” he replied, “that’s what Artemis said.”
It is that magical hour of the day when the sun sets the pond’s surface ablaze. The fountain in the middle shoots drops of liquid fire into to sky, only to watch them return to their now fiery home. This magic only lasts a few moments before the water returns to its natural state, and for yet another day, extinguishes the sun.
In our small world night and day are separated by dreams that escape just beyond our consciousness. We search for deeper meaning even as we are certain they will leave us as they have long before we could remember. That is the trouble with margins, they ebb and flow without warning, their arrivals and departures unannounced, so listen carefully and embrace the silence.