Then there are the days when I play the buffoon, the juggler whose balls come crashing to the floor bringing tears to the crowd of joy or sorrow, I cannot hope to tell, for this day I can only flail about, the circus clown, and you had best keep your distance lest I break you as well.
I still have the tie I wore to m grandmother’s funeral, one I conducted, but the suit from that day is long gone, and just as well, for it would be several sizes too large for the present me.
I’ve only worn the tie once since that rainy day in Maryland and then to a wedding to balance out the sadness with a bit of joy, the tie deserved at least that for standing with me in the downpour, urging me to recite the ancient prayers as quickly as possible.
You ask me to define what family is and I tell you that I may be the last person you want answering that question, I an adoptee who felt like an orphan supplanted by siblings who knew her womb.
But I do have an answer, family is that insane person who will drive six hours to spend an hour with you, family is the joy and aching of your heart as they leave, a bit of themselves remaining deeply within your soul.
We both know that having a pet at our age is wise for they provide a companionship that can be difficult to find. I’ve had both dogs and cats, but the decision this time was reasonably simple, for dogs have an insatiable need to walk their people, weather is no impediment and my arthritis is no longer all that forgiving of damp and cold.
So we settled on a cat, and we have been pleased with our decision – she is joyous, playful and reads our emotional needs, but most importantly, other than not needing to walk us, she has been remarkably adept at training us to live in her new home.
It is well past time I wrote a poem about the great joys of my childhood, for memory should bubble up like lava through the crust of time, they should rain in flashes as so much matter dropping into the atmosphere in their ultimate light show. This isn’t going to happen, of course, whether because memory has grown dim over time’s distance or for lack of subject matter. At 68, the difference hardly matters for a blank page hardly cares which pen chooses not to write it.
He sits, suited in black, with 88 keys at his command, and we fall silent. He opens the lock of joy, the lock of sadness, the lock of elation, the lock of tears, the lock of laughter, the lock of darkness, the lock of light, the lock of surprise, the lock of compassion, the lock of love, and we peer through each door, unable to enter fully unable to turn away. As we walk out, we know we have tasted Buddha’s promise truth and we go off in search of the 63,999 remaining Dharma doors.
Between now and then, between yesterday to and today, between night and day, between birth and death, between good and evil, between heaven and hell, between light and dark, between joy and sadness, our lives occur and we are so seldom there to see it happen, lost in dreams of what never will be, never was.