Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day three hundred and seventy five ... One-eleven.

Today is a big day.

It is my bandmate and friend, Steve's, birthday. Happy Birthday, Steve.

It is another good friend of mine's half-year mark in the quest for a clean, clear, and content existence on earth. Congratulations so far. I believe in you.

I just found out it is my neighbor's birthday (the one who likes to make brownies), as well as her daughter. Happy birthday, Priscilla and Anna. 

And it is the day that, two years ago, my mother passed on.

And I say, "passed on" rather than "passed away" because I feel that it suits her situation more appropriately. She always used to tell me--when discussing the loss of a living creature--that the law of conservation of energy states: "energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change form." 

Out of all of the ways I have seen and heard of dealing with the loss of life, this idea--this law of physics--comforts me the most. It credibly posits that life goes on--albeit in a changed format--forever. It assures me that everyone who has had the spark of life--however brief or lengthy--will have it for eternity.

They always have.

I have hundreds of pictures of her.

I have cards written for every occasion.

I have letters.

I have phone messages on cassettes that I'll never erase.

And I have the memories that--thankfully--my brain allows me to keep. For how long, I have no clue. I'm just thankful for today's amenities.

And I look at these pictures--these collections of innumerable amounts of colored dots on individual sheets of paper pressed from the processed fibers of trees cut into practical sizes--and I don't just see a woman with a broad, genuine, excited smile. 

I see her energy.

I see it more so in pictures from before the beginning of 2006. As the cancer came on and the chemo took its toll, little by little the energy was put to the test and had to hide in pockets and compartments to be used frugally and with increasingly fastidious discretion. It was still there, but it had been weakened like a rechargeable battery in need of a fix.

And I know that each day I live I get a little closer to her. I know that someday, in the hopefully far off future, my energy will be released and somehow find its way to hers. That somehow, in the giant universe we and all that can be observed and hidden inhabit, that there will be a piece of my energy that finds its way to hers. 

It's probably a long shot. But regardless of how impossible, implausible, or unthinkable something is, there will always be odds of it happening. It matters not what they are in ratio to probability; it only matters that they are at all.

And all of this is completely crazy-talk for the most part. But it is my crazy-talk. And just like I don't owe it to anybody but myself to stay sober; just like I only have to follow the rules of common decency and etiquette because I see fit to accept that which is agreed upon by a majority; just like I could refuse to speak english and from now until I say so replace it in my communication cache with a nonsensical series of mutterings and hand gestures that would get me sent to a State facility; just like I could take my own life ... I won't. I won't because the combination of all that I am made of does not allow it.

So, today, on this January eleventh, I will celebrate many things. First and foremost I celebrate the recurrence of a particular date in time as being the day when certain people in my life came to live independently of their host (as impersonal as that may sound). I will celebrate the date when a close friend began--again--to stop killing himself for nobody's benefit but his own (as personal as that may sound). And I will celebrate the day that one person's energy--someone who shares the most common of bonds with myself--released hers into the ether, to be spread in an infinite swath amongst the limitless particles of the universe.

And that is the most empowering and productive way I can look upon the logical acts of nature. 

It is not an end.

It is not a beginning.

It simply is.

In a previous post, I shared a passage which was written in the early winter of 2006, in my mother's elegant handwriting, on a page from a notebook on which she wrote rough drafts of her bequests, with the intent to have transferred them to equally graceful stationary, as was her style.

The passage I shared was this one:

The body is like an envelope and the spirit within is the letter. The letter has meaning. An empty envelope is nothing.

I promised, in that entry, to include more in upcoming installments.

The following passage means a great deal to me. I do not know its history, as I was not aware of its existence until well after she had passed on. Saying that, (and judging from a slight correction made to it in her own pen) I can only assume it came from her head, heart, and soul. It is as follows:

Then it began. 

Rockets. Stars. 

Flowers blooming. 

The black sky sequined. 

Reds, yellows, blues, greens. Silver and gold. 

Fireworks, explosions, and the cheers of spectators.

I, myself, have an idea what this is all about.

And that's all anyone could ever expect.

Happy January Eleventh.

Thanks for reading.



luvrandr said...

I think your mother's words:
"The body is like an envelope and the spirit within is the letter. The letter has meaning. An empty envelope is nothing".
are beautiful. I hope you don't mind that I printed it up in a nice font and it has been hanging in my classroom. Young women need to be constantly reminded that it is what is inside that matters. Your mother was a wise woman, and you are fortunate to have had her and her beautiful words to guide you.

F. Alex Johnson said...


Thank you so much for the kind words and continued encouragement.

I don't need to tell you how much of a compliment it is to my mother, and all she represented, by your simple act of conveying her sentiments.

Thank you,