We will always be friends, we said, probably half meaning it at the time. How many times have we said that or somthing akin to it, knowing that the promise to call, to stay in close touch, was at best half meant and almost certain not to come to any reality.
I have a catalog of friends, who I told I would never give up, distance notwithstanding, we all do, and mine is replete with both good and bad intentions, each and every one a failure.
I did not say this to my ex-wife when we divorced, and I must say that while I failed at the marriage, or so she said, I did not ever fail at not being friends after its end.
I would like nothing more than to have a long conversation with the birds, that there is much they could tell me, much they know that I should understand but I am the interloper here, and they have lost trust in my kind.
I watch them closely, trying to discern what I can of their thoughts, but in a flash of wing, they erase my efforts, their unique version of giving me the bird, so to speak.
I speak to them, offer apologies, atone for my presence, for the others who have taken their space, and they listen, but in the end, turn away again, having, they say, heard this too many times before.
Outside the door nestled in the tall grass white, a plume gossamer, a gift perhaps from a sky finally blue or a tear for the summer’s departure, or, perhaps, a promise, down payment on the freedom from gravity long sought never attained.
The clouds this evening are the deep gray that so long to be black, but the retreated sun just below the horizon lingers long enough to deny them.
The space, shrinking, between the clouds, is the gray of promise that the night will soon deny, and the birds who take over the preserve, chant their vespers, each in his or her own language, uncommon tongues singing their hymn punctured, punctuated by the flapping of wings, as the night encloses us in a cocoon that will carry us into the coming morning.
It is a day set aside for resolutions although there is no reason you cannot make a resolution any day of your choosing.
Perhaps it is a day for those resolutions you might not otherwise make, the bold or daunting, more likely a day for the resolutions you know you will abandon as too hard or simply utterly impractical.
This year I have resolved not to engage in the annual ritual, the annual farce more accurately, and will achieve a long-held goal of conceding failure early, in a new year that will afford myriad chances to come up short.
And there is a hidden blessing in my newfound resolve to swear off resolutions, so take that old Epimenides.
I’ve been trying to discover how it is that those inside the beltway elected to office, or working for those who were elected, have all sense of irony (and in some cases. civility) erased.
How else to explain that for many there can be no climate change while the nation they serve is bearing its cost, climatologically and in discourse and diversity, and still they won’t see that baked Alaska is no longer just a dessert at a Party or PAC dinner.
Or to be blind to the fact that their parents or grandparents once stared up at the Lady in the Harbor, that they were the tired and the poor yearning for the freedom they would now so easily deny others, that they and theirs were the invading mob, nonetheless welcomed in the promise of an ever greater land.
Perhaps it is best I never learn for in this world a finely honed sense of irony may be our last, best hope for salvaging our sanity.
You read the obituaries every day not only for the affirmation 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, that you valued as a friend and craftsman is gone, but 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 here to read it anyway, and you won’t think “better him than me,” and you promise you will forgive those that think it.