Sunday, September 8, 2013

Live Well

 “You can go in now” It felt as though the words had come from inside me, like a thought instead of a sound. Time has a nearly infinite elasticity when you are waiting for something as rare as your last moments with someone you love and time for me had stretched to the point my consciousness had slipped through. Then the nurse stepped into my peripheral vision as I sat on the floor in the hallway. Her face was filled with compassion and graced with a gentle smile. She held her hand out towards the open door as if to welcome me. I could go in now. So I gathered my self together.

My Dad seemed to be asleep. I quietly took my place beside him and watched the machines do their work. And I watched the clock. Time on this side of the wall was much different. There is nothing as horrifying as having one irreplaceable second after another stripped away from you as the thin red hand on a clock circles. Not when your are just old enough to know what death is and not old enough help anyone do it. “Why are you in such a hurry?” my father asked. With this simple question juxtaposed with the horror I felt in our time's passage I was instantly transported back to another night.

My Dad had just gotten home from another emergency trip to the hospital. He cornered me in my bedroom and accused me of hearing his cries of pain and ignoring them. He said I wanted him dead. He was wrong. I wanted him to be well again. I wanted to play chess again. I wanted to go shooting again. I wanted to go fishing. I wanted to hear him read Shakespeare out loud. I wanted to talk about science. I wanted to have the peace, and safety, and completeness of having my Dad by my side. There was so much I wanted to say but all I could offer him in this moment was silence, and innocence. Eventually he left me alone in my room with all of that to want and no one to hold. But, I was four years older and had gained enough experience to meet what I felt was a harsh accusation with the simple truth. “I'm only supposed to be in here twenty minutes at a time.” Just then the same nurse came in the room with a fresh blanket saying “Take all the time you need.” And with those simple and profound words the spell was broken, my horror faded and my Dad and I passed a couple of hours talking easily to one another until he was too tired to go on and I left him to sleep.

His question and my reaction to it has clung to my life for the three decades since his death. It devoured me slowly and nearly completely. After my Mother's death the loss of her part of my Father's story made the memories of all the bad times more poignant and predominant. Her narrative had sweetness and memories of light my Dad had inside him. Without that point of view to help guide me I sank into the evil of the wretched, premature end of someone I love and need. Loss had become part of how I viewed my world to the point there was no taste, no scent, no sound of anything I once held dear. There was only longing and anger. Grief was like a filter on a camera lens, unnoticeable except for the resulting image; skewed reality. Finally, during a reliving of my experience in the hospital I realized what was happening, that this pain was literally killing me and with the help of people I love I found a way out of the spiral.

This week I have come to say farewell the third man I have loved the way you should love a Father, Dr. Ulysses Gonzalez. He was a great man that lead a long life and died surrounded by Family. I will miss him very much, many people will, and his death should not be mourned but life without him will be. My role in the ceremonies is singular, to be here when my Wife needs me. The quiet within this simple duty has offered me a precious moment of clarity. My Dad was really hoping to hear that I had friends waiting for me. He wanted to hear that I had something important to do or something fun. That I had to go to work to help support the Family. He wanted to hear that the things were in place that would give my life meaning and joy. He wanted to hear that he had accomplished something very important by creating a whole person strong enough to carry on with out him. In this moment I miss him more than ever, and more than ever at peace with his absence.

I see now that having a great number of days in my life may not offer me a chance to pass from this life with all conflicts resolved and a loving legacy. The quantity of my days is not what I can control, my only chance is what I do with the time I have left. If I want to die well I must live well. I must work joyfully to create the world I want and accept the world that exists. I must guard the health of my body, and my mind, and my soul. I want to teach Ella how to play chess. I want be a friend to as many people as I can. I must paint. I want to laugh, a lot. I want to hear every word my Wife and Daughter have to say and take them to heart and make them part of me. I must learn to offer all my thoughts as expression of joy. Most of all I must learn to face my fear without anger as a shield, because when death comes I want to go smiling.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Memory of My Father on the 30th Anniversary of His Death

As we approached the end my Father would tell me, every chance we had to be together, "I can't wait to spoil my Grand Child ROTTEN" Rowena and I have your back on this one Dad and we will carry on in your name. But despite our best efforts; pure sugar just doesn't spoil.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Price

" I don't know how long it took me to get to the bottom of that hill, to a point they couldn't see me. They had pinned us down early in the day, and it seemed like it took hours to get to the little swale where I could get upright enough to throw a grenade thirty feet. I didn't know how many men were up there. They had a machine gun, we knew that. It got quiet for a minute my squad was waiting for my order for covering fire and had their heads down so there was nothing for the machine gun crew to shoot at. So I grabbed a grenade, gave the sign, and all hell broke loose. I pulled the pin but there was no puff of smoke and I thought it was a dud. Then I remembered hearing about a new grenade that was quieter and didn't give off the puff of smoke that could give away where you were and what you were doing. Now usually you count to three before you throw so the bastards don't get a chance to throw it back at you. But it was too late for that and I had know idea how long I had been holding it. so I lobbed it up towards the ridge and it hung over their trench as it went off. Everyone in the trench got the full force and all the shrapnel. There was no more shooting from that position. I worked my way up and around with my Corporal, not taking any chances. Behind the machine gun were two Chinese gunners and farther down were two North Koreans next to a box full of ammo. The Grenade had killed them all. Now when you're shooting at a group or even someone in the open everyone's shooting. You don't know who killed who, and in the weeks after the Chinese joined the war there wasn't any time to think much about it, but I knew I had killed these men. I started to shake. The gunners had been torn up pretty bad but the Koreans were not. They looked like children. My Corporal went down and got the men together to move out. I joined up with them later, after I got my self back together. That Son, was the first time I knew for sure I had killed someone."
Memorial Day addition:
What I cannot express in this was how my Father's voice changed as he spoke. At first he was angry I had asked if he had killed someone in the war, I guess he had been asked the question before, but it ended as more of a confession. As painful as this admission was, it opened the door for other discussions to follow.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dear Ella

Dear Ella,
As your Father I feel it is my duty to protect you from danger. I will, however, not always be able to do so. You may not always want me to try. But there are times in almost every one's life when a dangerous situation happens beyond anyone's control. If this happens to you, as it has to me, you will need to put your knowledge,your ability to think, and your training into action even though you will be afraid.
Swimming class is part of this training. It is a skill that may one day save your life. It is a skill that will also be a chance for you to grow strong in your body and confident in your ability to achieve. It will give you Freedom; the chance to enjoy the world more completely. What you did this week when you “jumped into the deep end” was take another step into what will be your world and your life. I am proud of you for this. You trusted us and yourself and you did a great thing.
In honor of your your achievement you will get to choose your own bicycle today. One that will never have training wheels,
Your Dad

Sunday, April 29, 2012


This is the Woman God has lead me to. And when I listen to her I can hear the Voice of God. I hear the Truth. I hear the Wisdom. There is Resonance. In Her Words the World is laid before me like a Feast. It is because of her I can hear the Voice of God. 

This is the Child God has  given us. When I hear her, when I listen, I can hear the voice of God. I hear Laughter. There is Great Joy. Wonder. We Learn together. There is an Echo in the Valley with every Word and it is the Voice of God. 

When we gather together, You and I as two or more, What Is Among Us shall have a Voice. I want to share what is in my Heart. I will talk about my Fears without Fear. I will share the things I Hope For. I will offer what little I have that is mine, and in the  Moments we share Silence, perhaps we shall hear the Voice of God.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Memory of my Father on the 29th Anniversary of His Death

Between Flights. My Father is center.
The real  attack was along the file my rook controlled after a queen side castle. The file was clogged now but that would change quickly. The forking attack with my knight was part of that in a way, but it was a decoy.
My Father had been a tournament player when he was in the Army, and he had respect for me as a player, but he always said I relied too much on tactical play. I could beat most players with my ruthless application of combinations of forks and skewers. Use these tactics against lesser players and eventually they will make a mistake that costs them a piece and then two and then you just mop up.  But a Strategic player will accept these attacks and just trade wood with you while they slowly develop their position and then just take you down in the end game. I had kept a book carefully noting each move in every game with my father. In the hundred pages or more you could see my progress as more and more games reached the magical 40+ move mark. But each page ended with white resigns, Dad always gave me the first move and my resignation had always been the last.  He had given me his copy of "The Fireside book of Chess" "Study these games son and you will learn strategy; how these masters win by thinking one more move ahead than their opponent." We read the book together . We set the chess board and followed these the games, move by move, together.
When my father made a quick move to accept what was on its surface a piece for piece swap, the trap was sprung. When instead I took the bishop that "protected" my knight and moved it to attack the pawn in front of my Father's queen that was the target along the rooks soon to be open file. The room got very quiet. He lit his pipe. He folded his hands on the table with purpose as he moved the pieces in his mind. I could see it written in his face, the sixth move would be a choice. He could give up his queen or face check mate. He lifted his hand , picked up his king and laid it softly on the board. "Good Game Son" he said in a matter of fact way as he reached across the board to shake my hand. He lit his pipe again as I wrote in my notebook for the very first time. "Black Resigns". And then he started to laugh. And the laughter grew and was like thunder.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


My Daughter no longer needs these training wheels.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Through Us

Without it our Galaxies would not exist. We cannot see it. It is beyond our senses."I said "It passes through us, constantly. Dark Matter is at the edge of our ability to perceive, yet it holds our Universe together.” Rowena had been worried about me, and so had Ella, and I struggled to explain what had been on my mind. Rowena was driving me home after a long day at work. It is good to sit and collect and share my thoughts with her and Ella. “Tell me, Angel,” I asked my daughter in the back seat. “Does this sound crazy to you?” “No DaDa" She replied. “It’s like ghosts.”


Something formless yet complete,
existing before heaven and earth.
Silent and limitless,
it stands alone and does not change.
Reaching everywhere, it does not tire.
Perhaps it is the Mother
of all things under heaven.
I do not know its name so I call it "Tao."
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Circa 350 BC 


My friend David Nickell told me so many years ago, “Thoughts have their own form and texture. They can be beautiful to hold.” The sheer beauty of this thought, the leap of faith it takes to grasp it, had been an epiphany. I try not to mix concepts of science and spirituality, but if I had ended my roughly paraphrased definition of Dark Matter “This is the spirit that flows in the universe; the love of God,” the biggest difference would be that more people would believe it. War has raged between Religion and Science since "On the Origin of Species" was published. Meanwhile Science is growing and our Universe grows with it. Every time we add a sense to the five we were given, like the ability to see beyond the visible spectrum, the universe gets broader and older, and my sense of holy awe grows. For me what I know about Science and God are very similar, I have read books about them, I have felt and seen their creations, and they fill me with Wonder. I have been walking this Earth for half a century and at times I can see - Everything is just one thing. It is a beautiful thought even if it is hard to hold.


“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. “ Albert Einstein
It was like that second between the moment your toddler falls and the crying begins, the long intake of air and then a moment of silence.  As I pulled down the plywood panel of the attic ladder a desiccated mummy of a frog fell from the ceiling and skittered to a stop at Ella’s feet. She screamed a long heartfelt howl. Questions poured through her tears. “How did it get up there? What happened to it? Why did it have to die?” Her mother and I had no answers; this is the first time either of us had seen a dead amphibian plummet from a ceiling. Because there were no answers she repeated the questions, her eyes imploring us for the solace knowing might bring. “All we can do now is give it a proper Frog burial,” I said, wrapping the nearly weightless shell in a small piece of tissue paper. While Ella held her mother's hand beside our water garden, I gently placed it in the soft mud by the roots to the lily I lovingly call “Legs”. Light fell from the stars as we stood together wishing the little creature farewell.

A week later I brushed aside the lily pads anxiously looking for the first flower. I had been waiting and hoping for weeks and there it was, not two inches from the burial site, a tiny bud barely the size of a robin’s egg. Also there, clumps of gelatin globules with tiny black dots in the center. As the bud grew so did tadpoles. The flowers of water lilies open with the sun and close at dusk and as they do they rise and fall in the water. Their long stems are red unlike the yellow green stems that flow from the roots to the pads. They are alive, they move and grow. Lilies are born in water like the frogs and breathe air as well; both draw life from the same source. As I sit beside them in silence I see how little difference there is in everything that lives. Life flows into the garden, and life flows out. Life flows through everything.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” Buddha
Froedrich Frog jumps back into the water with a delightful tiny splat as I drink the last drop of coffee from my cup. The water garden is just outside the bedroom window and I heard Ella call for her mommy twenty minutes ago. I hear laughter, snippets of morning exclamations of wonder and it is time for me to join them. Ella rests in Rowena’s arms like her mother is a living arm chair and as I come around the foot of the bed they playfully roll over on their side to face me. Sunlight through the window behind me lights their faces with gold. They both seem to glow from within, but in the deep brown of their eyes concern for me lingers. Perhaps I should be smiling, or laughing, but what is the appropriate expression for the living when they stand before the gates of Heaven? This moment has been waiting for me since the expansion of the universe and I am grateful to finally arrive. I am grateful for the stars whose explosive demise created the materials that formed the vessels for this Family’s soul. I am grateful for all the beauty and glory that creates the pretext for what we share. I stand here in awe of all those that have given their breath to the knowledge that is the basis of my thanksgiving, because of them I know; the most powerful force in all of creation exists at the edge of our ability to perceive, holds our Universe together, and passes through us constantly. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

For My 5000th Pageviewer

I write because I believe each souls experience is valuable. Please share yours freely and without fear. I want to reprise "To Witness" for this milestone. I feel the witness inside Ella growing stronger and I am proud of both of us for it. 
It was gray Mid-Winter when I stepped into my back yard and a flock of 20 or so sparrows burst from the ground and formed into a tight formation at full speed. As they came to the Maple they spread without collision to pass through the barren tree without touching a single branch. On the other side they formed into a flight not much larger than myself and disappeared into the cold landscape beyond the fence. As I watched all these beautiful souls pass through another beautiful soul I felt a familiar presence.
I want to thank organized religion for three gifts. First I would like to thank the Catholic Church and specifically Pope Urban VIII for the persecution of Galileo Galilei. Scientific matters aside, it was the motivation for Rene' Descartes writing of Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences. Millions have created their intellectual structures on the foundations made possible by this treatise, exclusive of the Holy Roman Church's designs. Thanks to Urban VII I have only one possession - my own consciousness as the creation of dialog between the world and my own existence. My life is: what I see, what I hear, what I think, what I choose.
I would like to thank the Deacons of the Baptist Church my family attended when I was a child. When they discovered that wine was consumed at dinners with our family and the Pastor they fired him. I loved the Reverend. I enjoyed the conversations between him and my Father. I knew it was a great injustice and it severed my attachment to religious institutions permanently. He was then free to become President of a local university and I was free to look for God on my own. 
The most profound gift I received from a church, however, came during Sunday School just before our exile from the Baptist Church. The lesson was about the Creation and I was moved by the idea that God had desires. There was something that seemed strange about God needing something more than what he is so I asked the teacher" Why did He make us?" Her name is lost to me but her answer is not: "Perhaps he was lonely. He wanted someone to share with all the beautiful things he had made. God needs us. He sees the world through us. We are his eyes and his ears on Earth." The meaning of the moment was amplified perhaps because it is where my conversation left off with religious institutions. But it was the way she said it. She spoke directly to me. Her voice soft. Her words were complete the way a subtle gesture is complete.
Adults become conditioned to loneliness, but survival has instilled a special discomfort for this feeling in children. Lonely. A child understands another child's grief in solitude. A child would create the universe to not be lonely anymore. In my child's mind God was a child like me. One that loves to make things and to tell stories. He was inviting me to play with him. My life, the act of living, was part of Him. My seeing. My hearing. The tasting of fresh milk and my Grandmother's Pie, the feeling of my fifth grade girlfriend's hand in mine. All of these things an essential part of God's knowing and dreaming. And in the moments that I was conscious of the connection I wanted God to see the best of me.
"Yes, I'll sit by you. I love you too, I love you with all my heart. I am so proud of you. Be careful climbing that. AAAAAaaare you OK? Your knee? Yes, I'll blow that part a kiss. Great daddy take down. Sure, let's watch Ratatouille again. No I didn't know that Painted Lady Butterflies had ten thousand eyes. They migrate a thousand miles! Read that for me again. I'll read one for you too. Again?!? Great ballet jump. I love to see you dance!"
She wants a witness, and until she finds the one inside her I will witness everything she has to offer. In my adult’s mind God, a child like her, is the vessel that contains all of her experiences. Within God is the culmination- the full measure of everything she has seen, heard, tasted, felt, thought, feared and loved. My wife's years before we knew each other are there. The perfect life of the child, unborn, we mourned but I never met. We are there together - along with the singular, complete experience of every living thing there has ever been in the expanse of space and time. The flight of every bird, the stretching of their muscle and the flowing of wind across feather. The breathing of trees and the sense of what it means to flower. The sight from ten thousand Painted Lady Butterfly eyes on a thousand mile journey. 
Now that I am constantly aware of the connection I want God to see the best of me; for us to see the best of each other. "Yes God, I will sit with you. I like to paint flowers too. What a beautiful story. My friends tell stories - I need to take Ella to hear them. Great sunset! Remember the one I did for Little Shop? OK I'll keep trying. Yes, very proud of her. I love you too. With all my heart. I love to see you dance!"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Visions of Time

 I believe that every moment is eternal. Time does not pass. Consciousnesses persists as we flow from one existence to the next in a nearly infinite progression. We experience this as change as we move through space and we call that Time.  Everything that has ever existed still exists and everything that can exist has always existed. I am bound to a past and a future, not by memory or potential but by matter and space. I believe the linear Arrow of Time is a creation of Biology, not Physics and each individual Life's Narrative is a creation, like our vision, stitched together and inverted internally in our minds to help create a consistent model of the world around us. I believe that Time is how we are made capable of knowing ourselves and the other incarnations of consciousness swirling through the Universe together. I have struggled for two decades to be able to distill my thoughts about Time into this single paragraph and the effort has come with some cost. To believe fervently in your own experience and intuition, and to come to a conclusion diametrically opposed to what is accepted as humanity's experience of reality can be very disturbing.
My estimation of my sanity got a needed boost while I was watching an episode of “Through the Worm Hole” about time and I was introduced to a physicist that believes many of things I do but he has done the math that helps prove them. Julian Barbour is, among other things, the Author of “The End of Time” He describes existence as a series of “Nows” each a separate Universe in itself. I do not expect Mr. Barbour to become a house hold name anytime soon. His ideas have not been readily accepted by everyone in the theoretical physics community. But he has given a great gift; the ability to more freely accept and explore the consequence and artifacts of my perception.
The sensation of time is difficult to control. However, there are times in most of our lives when the sensation can become so muted the time seems to hover, warp and nearly stop. These events are usually the great transitions of our lives: marriages, deaths, births, ceremonies marking rites of passage. During these moments you are present in its true meaning. The event is an essential component of your existence, of your passing through place. You have nothing else to do but take part by adding your action and witness. You have no doubts, no discordant voices to pull you consciousness in another direction. These moments mark an epiphany, your manifestation in this plane.
It was the first Summer of our lives together for Rowena and I. She was sleeping beside me on a hot Summer afternoon. A gentle rain was falling, even as sun streamed into the room through 3 small gaps in the curtains. I watched a small thread of dust twist slowly in the beam. As a laid transfixed by it's motion the sound of Rowena's breathing and the sound of rain joined and hushed to silence and then the thread hung in the ether, motionless. At this moment I could feel the past. It was not a memory, I could feel my body stretch into it, connected to everyone I had touched and loved as if I was still beside them, holding them. I knew I had come to the place I was supposed to be, when I was meant to be there. The woman beside me was the person I was to spend eternity with and eternity was there with us. And then the future crashed upon me, the sparkling river of a young girls laughter from the other side of the window. I knew what I heard was the voice of someone waiting for me to join her life. Then the thread began to spin out of the sunbeam. Rowena turned and with her head on my shoulder, still asleep, joined in the laughter from deep within her dream. It was from that moment on, I was aware of my destiny, and I was glad for it.

Now that I believe in my forever, to whatever extent I can create my world, I try to craft it gently. I try, as best I can, to create moments that are worthy of living in, present with the those I love. I want to feel Peace. I want Rowena and Ella to know me and I want to know them. I want us to share laughter, to hear it Echo across all of our experiences. I want our silence to be the deep, abiding silence of comfort. I want to hold them as if the thought of time itself can pass away and turn to dust. It is often difficult not to be bitter and jealous of all the Nows I spend in their absence until I realize, that pain is eternal also. To create pain, and worse yet, to share that needlessly with others is a sin that crosses ages. Instead I try to feel the act of being flow through me, to feel space itself connect us. I put my trust in the infinite futures before us. I know the perfect Loving moment is the Heaven of all our longings, and where we dwell forever.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

If Ayn Rand Wrote for Gamer Magazine

All across America there are adult children that still live with their parents. But when their parents ask these adult children to pay the Cable TV Bill it's a big problem. These children read a great article in Gamer Magazine about how smart video gamers are and how valuable gamers are to an ungrateful world and how you can buy 2 video games a month for what you pay for cable TV and what's up with all those channels that nobody in their right mind would watch anyway. Well the adult child pays the cable bill, because it's the cable modem that lets him game with his buds on the west coast and if he moves out who would cook for him and do his laundry, but night and day the injustice of the $89.95 and all those channels eats at him. " You know why the cable bills so high OPRAH WINFREY thats right OPRAH WINFREY She makes the local cable company pay way too much for Oxygen and OWN and Lifetime and Hallmark and it's just not fair, those channels suck." So he rips the article out of gamer magazine and uses his favorite magnet to place it on the refrigerator, right at Mom's eye level where she can't miss it. He emails the article to his Dad. He reads it out loud at the dinner table but both Mom and Dad excuse them selves and go out "for a walk" before he can get to the good parts. After a while he gives up because its obvious they are incapable of understanding Gamers Magazine's magnificent prose. But the Ache never goes away. Effing Oprah Winfrey, Bitch. He decides on a course of action!! He will NOT pay the cable bill until all traces of Oprah Winfrey have been removed from from any all cable TV channels! He wears anti Oprah T shirts he bought from Zazzle. He starts his own anti Oprah web site. He organizes a protest march that will culminate in a public burning of VHS copies of “Beloved” and “The Color Purple” that he bought at McKay's just for this purpose. A local News producer hears about the march and although only 4 other non-cable-payers-until-Oprah-is-erased..ers show up cleverly framed shots do not show this. The video goes viral because it makes Moms and Dads laugh to see that they are not the only ones with Oprah haters that drink directly from the milk jug still living at home. But it also resonates with all the non-cable-payers-until-Oprah-is-erased..ers. Soon a movement is born. A manifesto is written, heavily paraphrasing the original Gamer Magazine article. ESPN thinking that on the Venn diagram of cable watchers there is barely a tangent between OWN viewers and theirs decide to bank roll a non-cable-payers-until-Oprah-is-eraseder protest in Washington DC! ESPN really doesn't give a rats a$$ about Oprah or the movement but wants to squeeze more money from cable outlets for THEIR content. With ESPN's support the movement grows until the cable companies agree to ESPN's price as long as the shut the eff up about Oprah because the are still making a bunch of money off her. Moms like Oprah, and Mom buys the food. Eventually, without ESPN's underwriting, the movement fades into history. And the original non-cable-payers-until-Oprah-is-eraseder's book about the evil of the Oprah Winfrey Network is never published. The Ache however never dies.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Still Like Water

Space flows 
like water
Time waits
waits in warm 
soft furry coils
laying in the sun
for us to return 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In the Garden 2: Frogs

My inspiration to create my water garden was Ella's gift of a "Grow Your Own Lily Pad" kit. She told me that Frogs would come to sit on them. That's where frogs sit, lily pads. I thought that since the garden would be 5 feet above ground and a mile or more from any permanent body of water that it was highly unlikely frogs would come to visit. I stand corrected.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In the Garden

It was Wife and Daughter that inspired me to create my own Water Garden!
Having the lilies  in their own ecosystem where I can be at eye level has taught me about the lives of these creatures and how our distinctions between plants and animal and everything else that lives are purely subjective.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Blessings

 I had passed it every day on my way home, at the entrance ramp at the beginning of Ellington Parkway just North of downtown Nashville, a simple cross made of a perforated steel channel, ubiquitous in construction, known as unistrut. It is on the public right of way adjacent to one of Nashville low cost housing projects and conjures many images juxtaposed as it is against the poorly maintained apartment buildings that have sheltered people suffering from despair and sickness for decades. This is just one of hundreds of such monuments to highway deaths I have seen on roads here in the South. I try to take a moment to realize the meaning of loss these crosses represent and honor the public, if anonymous, display of grief.
I nearly sideswiped the car beside me. As tried to merge onto Ellington I found the gray cross now completely covered in purple, red, and pink silk flowers. For years I had no evidence that it had ever been touched by human hands. The dour specter now seemed to be singing, brought to life by this human kindness. But the song faded. As the weeks went by the flowers tuned to white from the Sun. As the Months passed they turned as gray as the steel. And as Winter came and went the flowers fell away. Last year's flood washed away the cross bar where once hung memory and solace. I wonder, were the flowers a commemoration of the passing of the soul this cross represented. Where they in honor of the person who had left it there years before, now gone to be with the one they so loved. Did the memories of the one they lost fade away, or did they become to painful to bare any longer. I will never know. The Cross is silent.
It is a blessing, that the dead are always faithful. Their deeds now recounted and numbered and relived by those that still have dreams and needs of their own. The living search that past for the kindness they need today and with what they find they embody the souls of the absent and form a cradle for their remembrance. It is a blessing for the dead that their lives now flow not with the revolutions of our Earth but the revelations of our hearts.
It is a blessing for the living to always be faithful. To guard your thoughts and words and deeds as you would eternity. To always act in the best interest of those that love you. My Father told me, when I was a child, that if something is so important to you that so foremost in your mind that you can say it when you see a falling star that that wish will come true. I will try to say “ I will earn my daughters faith in me.” before the light can die.