Day 31: The New Forever

Mon­day the 31st day of Jan­u­ary 2011

The last day of the first month of the New Year.  At mid­night new­ness turns into Feb­ru­ary. Another year pro­ceeds with or with­out our permission.

Dur­ing January’s 31 days we, a peo­ple belong­ing to one coun­try, were wounded by a man’s inter­nal demons that erupted into a pub­lic vio­lence.  His gun’s bul­lets brought death and dis­abil­ity, mis­un­der­stand­ing and sor­row. Tuc­son, Ari­zona is a place of beauty awash with col­ors pro­vided by its nat­ural palette. A part of the shel­ter­ing South­west, the land­scape and ter­rain do not sug­gest the immi­nent dis­rup­tion of life. Real­ity does that — it sur­prises us indi­vid­u­ally and com­mu­nally. Our daily lives are inter­rupted again and again.  We turn around to find dreams trans­formed into nightmares.

Tucson’s shared heal­ing light helped us recon­nect to what mat­ters.  But as I write, Egypt is engulfed in tur­moil and despair.  Hope is attached to a fero­cious rage. The tele­vised reports remain in con­scious­ness.  The dreams of Egyp­tians are com­mon to all peo­ple; what under­lies the con­fronta­tion is the basic right to claim and be offered the oppor­tu­nity for a bet­ter life, days that are filled with less suf­fer­ing. We under­stand the desire and fun­da­men­tal need to be free from depri­va­tion and tyranny.  Yet we are also fright­ened and con­fused; again we can see death, injury, and extreme acts of violence.

Psy­chics and polit­i­cal pun­dits pre­dict a vari­ety of events for the com­ing months of the year. I would not attempt to spec­u­late about what’s next.  Nor would I wish to do so, even if I had the vision­ary pow­ers or the polit­i­cal knowledge.

In my city, win­ter came upon us harshly and relent­lessly in sharp and unfor­giv­ing ways. Inside my apart­ment and safely upstairs, I can envi­sion a dif­fer­ent win­ter.  I decep­tively imag­ine the bliz­zards as soft occur­rences; those images com­pose a pri­vate fic­tion.  My view is one of a fresh white blan­ket spread over the ter­race and sur­round­ing the Stone Sage Lion.  The Lion looks proudly at the snow­drifts he com­mands from his urban perch; it’s hardly a suit­able loca­tion, even for a Stone Lion. It’s fan­tasy and as myth­i­cal as he is, but no less com­fort­ing to me.  I watch his unchang­ing gaze, his unwa­ver­ing atten­tion to his post at the door.  His exis­tence makes me smile as I pre­tend he’s pledged endur­ing alle­giance to the ter­race, to Man­hat­tan, to me.

Sharp­ness and Softness.

These are life’s eter­nally con­tra­dic­tory and com­bat­ive part­ners.  Incom­pat­i­ble com­pan­ions but linked for­ever.  They will never escape each other or our expe­ri­ence of them.

I have been won­der­ing lately how much is left of my Forever?

It has, of course, become shorter with ill­ness and with each birth­day.  The hori­zon line is now vis­i­ble.  I no longer pos­sess the youth­ful illu­sion of an infi­nite life yet to be lived, an earthly eter­nity of time to spend.   I’ve lived.  I still live.  But For­ever moves closer to its inevitable and finite con­clu­sion. I am unafraid.  I will find ways to embrace the winter’s storms and what­ever is wait­ing beyond them.

The end of For­ever may not be ter­ri­bly long from the present tense of my rhythms. It belongs to the domain of the unknow­able, as it should.  Because I accept this as some­thing other than a ver­dict, much about my life is more mean­ing­ful. As Jan­u­ary ends, For­ever has given me its only avail­able gift.  I have been shown a time­line. Or, is it that I’ve stopped deny­ing I can see one?  The ways I choose to live and to love are eas­ier and sweeter.  I am reach­ing for an under­stand­ing of all that comes to and through my awareness–even this sharp-soft win­ter in the Year 2011.

©2011 Alida Brill, From This Terrace


Filed under Community, Compassion, Forgiveness, Friendship, Hope, Inspiration, Life, Politics, Relationships, This Moment, Time, Women

6 Responses to Day 31: The New Forever

  1. Incom­pat­i­ble com­pan­ions but linked for­ever.” What an amaz­ing sen­tence! That is true on all of the lev­els about which you write, from your per­spec­tive and from our per­spec­tives as read­ers. There is an unmis­tak­able sharp­ness to this win­ter in so very many ways, the soft­ness of which lies mostly in our “pri­vate fictions.”

  2. Beau­ti­ful water­col­ored images. I wish I could have sat on the set­tee with you sip­ping tea and cre­at­ing poetry.
    You are an inspi­ra­tion.

  3. Katie

    So poignant dur­ing this espe­cially “sharp” win­ter. We can all find soft­ness even in the midst of all the sharp­ness, whether win­ter storms or other obsta­cles are com­ing our way. Thank you for this beau­ti­ful and mov­ing piece!

  4. Alida, I tried to write a short note, and it van­ished. So I’ll try again. I read your short pieces on your blog and wrote to note the “ele­gance” of your voice. Even in a sin­gle sen­tence I heard the writer. Florence

  5. Robin

    So beau­ti­ful, Alida. Thank you for let­ting me inside your world. I want to meet your lion some­time.
    Think­ing of you with love

  6. Your obser­va­tions bring sud­den still­ness, Alida, and I am always blown away by your con­scious­ness and insights. I recently turned 61 and, too, think about the end of my for­ever much these days. My metaphor of choice is that it is the begin­ning (if I am lucky) of Act 3, and I won­der how it will end.

    Thank you Alida, for all that you share and all that you provoke.

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