The Big Taboo

June 3rd, 2014

web clouds VSCOcam

Let me say the unsayable…we’re all going to die.  I know I’m not supposed to think that, much less say it out loud, and I spend a lot of time denying it to myself. At other times, I indulge in magical thinking. If only, I think, I’d  Botoxed early, exercised more, eaten local, played brain games, meditated, run a marathon, not have stood in a field watching crop dusters fly over spreading their poison, made fewer late night Baskin and Robbins runs, lifted more weights, been more hip, gone spinning every week, eschewed Day-glo orange Cheetos, believed in Jesus, learned to do a head stand, not used aluminum pans, loved more appropriately, been less selfish, restricted my calories — if only I’d tried harder, maybe I would live forever. But as Wallace Stevens wrote in Sunday Morning (the last four lines of which seem sublime to me), “Death is the mother of beauty” and he didn’t mean enlarged lips or lipo-ed hips. My own mortality makes me recite to myself the ordinary, right-here/right-now personal list of beauty in my life: the fitted sheets folded perfectly in my closet,  the Oh-My-God gardenias in my yard, sleeping late on a weekday, reading The Four Quartets once a year, drinking gin and tonics on summer Sunday afternoons, waking in the night to thunder and lightning, cornbread baked in a cast-iron skillet, just-squeezed orange juice, neon signs, prayer flags, sunshine slanting across a wood floor, a magical free-of-charge full moon every single month. All the things of the earth. And when my time comes, I wish my body could be placed outdoors on a raised platform like a Great Plains Indian, offered up to the clouds, the birds, the winter snow, the autumn gold, the spring sun, the seasonal stanzas. A body turned into a poem. Selah.

5 Responses to “The Big Taboo”

  1. Love! Not the fact that we will die, but this post. I want to live forever and my own mortality has really been on my brain lately. I don’t want to spend my days overlooking the “ordinary, right-here/right-now personal list of beauty in my life” .

  2. A wonderful reminder to keep the gaze fixed inward and in the here-and-now and not always over the horizon.

  3. “When my earthly trials are over,
    Cast my body out in the sea,
    Save all the undertaker’s bills,
    Let the mermaids flirt with me…

  4. Howling (at the moon) in delight. Truth after truth.

  5. barbara says:

    OMG! just OMG! All the things you said. Yes indeed.

    I must have fallen off your list, because I hadn’t rec’d in awhile, so will sign up again.

Leave a Reply