I saw the sun rise this morning over Mt. Hood, the glow that announced to the horizon its approach. There should be in the life of every man, every woman, that moment when seeing dawn lift, peel back the shroud from Mt. Hood causes the sudden intake of just that much extra breath.
The giant spider in its black shroud sits irritated in the center of its web wishing it ever larger, demanding that others enter, become enthralled until it defines the parameters of the universe the spider imagines.
The giant spider silently seethes at the once gardener who, having tasted the forbidden fruit, has closed the screened door as he reluctantly departed the garden diminishing the web’s attraction.
The spider dreams of his new world, knows his old one, the simple web may be replaced, so he presses on spinning all his resources in the hope that others will come to accept his crafted reality as their own.
There is nothing like, no words to adequately describe, that moment when a cloud- hazed sun lingers wishfully just above the horizon, grasping the sky with brilliant talons of light, fearing becoming lost in a darkness that will, on this night of the new moon, engulf us all in its inky shroud.
We know, or pray, the sun will return in hours, just as the sun knows its work is never done so long as it has light to give, hoping that final collapse is eons away.
As it finally settles beyond sight, we smile, retreat to the table and consume our dinner and wine, our daily companion forgotten until its dawning return.
Once the winter stars wrapped in their cloudy shroud shed frozen tears, unwilling to come out of hiding. We searched for them in vain, knowing our failure, retreating to the warmth of home, only to repeat the failed effort on so many other nights.
Now, here, the winter stars are usually fearless, some drowned by the moon, but she waxes and wanes and they reappear, the brightest never fearing the chilled sky. We stare at them in wonder having forgotten for so many years just how beautiful they can be in their glory.
We sat on our lanai last night in our twin rockers, the cat curled close by but carefully removed from the rockers and stared into the sky hoping meteors would grace us with their fleeting presence.
The moon did appear, shrouded in thin clouds, spectral ghost waxing slowly in hiding, but the stars had fled this night, fearing the rain that the cloud mantle promised.
We never did see a meteor but we know they will return next year and the cat says it is hardly worth interrupting a good nap for a momentary flash of light, and we just touched hands and retreated to bed.
This is how we mourn: we don’t berate the clouds for gathering, nor begrudge the rain’s ultimate descent. Our tears fall to the earth as well, and there are moments when we need the gray, moments when the sun would be an unwelcomed interloper. This is how we mourn: we wipe the walls clean of history, we whitewash them for they, too, must be a tachrichim* and when done we add the names, each lettered carefully, this a plaster scroll of those we dare not forget requiring the perfection they were denied. This is how we mourn: by walking out into the sunfilled sky, having given them the grave once denied them freshly dug into our souls and memory.
*tachrichim is the traditional white linen Jewish burial shroud.
Written following a visit to the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, where the 80,000 names of Czech and Moravian Jews who perished under the Nazis were hand-written on the walls of the synagogue.
The evening shows no reluctance in enveloping the dregs of the day, leaving a cool breath of promise. The clouds build in enveloping the moon half pillow, half shroud. Tomorrow is an empty promise that will accept what we offer or nothing at all, save the rain it will hold back another day. One star appears, pulls the curtain of clouds around it and whispers to the night I am all there is, cherish me.