So I went to the Celebration of Life for my neighbor yesterday, and the cutting cold wind pushed me into contemplation mode. I listened to the song that Ichabod found and noticed that through the lens of my seeing, I feel pulled and shown the swirling tangle of life through the feeble light of my visions of where we are and where we are going. The messenger is never delayed, we grow impatient waiting, and the fear is we had it all wrong from the start. That’s all water under the bridge by now and yet I am amazed at how strongly I hold onto pieces of the past.
I’m pouring another cup of coffee for the chocolate, and thinking how I’ve told you and the NSA and this “Cherry-picking” place what I couldn’t tell my neighbor, and he WAS one of the few humans I talked to irregularly. I think I felt him go on my wife’s birthday, a celebration of life that gave a poem to here, but I had not been told yet. Shit, he would have come out when I was near the fence, knowing I can’t hear well, he would have waited ’til I got close and said,” Guess I bit it this time. first time I shut up all my kids, their kids, and their kids.” A great-granddaughter died not too long ago in a sordid mess of shaken baby and failed foster care, government and more, but I think she came back long enough to show him the way, and I can believe that if I want.
I’m drinking the chocolate and coffee and I thought, if he hadn’t cut down the cherry trees in his back yard, across the fence from me, maybe his life would be a bit different. He cut down more trees than I can remember, but he would, he’d tell me about every one, and smoke a cig. His wife sitting, silently disapproving, until she got a phone call and escape, going into the house. When he drank, he always offered a beer, occasionally I would take one, but mostly I didn’t, and sometimes, I had to make my escape,especially in the early days of our relationship. His early life was a country song, in the roughest sense possible. Getting drunk and in a fight with a Nevada cop left him stranded on a rig for a couple of months before he came back home. He didn’t think much of me, getting dressed up to go to work ( not a suit and tie, just not jeans and a work shirt), and I kept my distance, I had more soap operas to analyze at work than I ever wanted, and I didn’t need theirs.
We gardened here every year except the first, when the ground was so hard and bad it broke a friend’s small tractor. My neighbor slowly grew more and more, and we would talk about it. We would talk about weather, and our particular forecast. “It ain’t gonna rain,” he told me one hot summer day, and in two minutes a big drop hit me. I saw a big dark cloud in the western sky, “I don’t know, but I think I’m going in.” I replied. He looked at me looking up at the sky and turned and a big drop hit his lit cigarette. “Yup.”