Sunday, March 11, 2012

Beause I May Die Today

And that's ok.  It's true everyday, and one day will become inevitable.

I will die imperfect. So will you.  It may be sad, and it may be tolerable.  If I die suddenly and soon, you will be unprepared (I imagine, so will I).  That will be harder than if you remind yourself- as I will- that I may die today.  If I die young, and since I think anyone shy of 60 young, it is a certain possibility, then it may feel tragic.  You may want to idolize my memory, my name, the things I used to say.  I give you permission in advance to let these things go.  To remember me warts and all, for how I am ornery at times, and for how I have a tendency to go crazy when living in cold dark climates too long, or when I choose to not say what I mean and by the time I'm ready to talk I blame you for it, even if it's not your fault.  I give you permission to be sad, but also a little relieved, because I can be difficult even though you love me.

5am airport cupcakes

I turn 28 today, sitting at the airport moving from one type of family to the other with equal importance, and two vegan red velvet cupcakes.

In the past two weeks I have been to Massachusetts, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I feel like my life has flashed before my eyes. I can see in my minds eye the long strait house my grandmother grew up in with her family of 13, before I or even my mother had yet become an idea. I can feel the weight of the bench that lived alongside the table where they all ate meals in a single room of their shotgun double in downtown New Orleans. I know now that on Halloween they wore no costumes, but carried small pumpkins (before the days of GMOs made them big and watery) with candles in them. There was no candy handed out door to door.

Down the street on the corner was Mrs. White's sweet shop where a nickel would get your box of ginger snaps. Aunt Irma sent little Edna in to ask for the nickels, cause she was the smallest and cutest. My gullible baby grandmother wouldn't see that her sweetness was being exploited by her sister, and really maybe it wasn't since they both got to eat the cookies.

Pop was mean mean mean, my Momie tells me, my mom reiterates, and my uncle Johnny too. But when he was drinking tea and not alcohol you could sit on his lap and he'd be sweet. But he was drunk walking all the girls down the aisle in their beautifully built handmade dresses.

Ole mom would buy the beer and the cokes for the weddings, she'd make chilli and someone would make ham sandwiches, the kids got their own cakes, and were they ever beautiful. For the first few kids they'd have the reception in the house, open up the French doors that separated the main room and the kitchen... Or was it the main room and the bedroom? Dining room? I'd need to see a sketch of the house to be sure.
One could write a dissertation on the legislation involved with the Massachusetts Right Whale Dilemma.  The problem started over a century ago when whalers realized there was a "Right" whale to hunt...

For the slow, quiet, 40 ton whale this marked the beginning of the end.  Now, it's an international problem, a federal problem, a state problem, a community problem.  It's a human problem... meaning that we caused it, and may have the ability to remedy it.

On September 11th, 2001 the ports of the eastern seaboard went quiet.  The large vessels that pass in and out and in and out, for a moment were forced to stop.  The ocean took a moment of silence.  For the first time in years, the right whales could relax. 

A team of researchers were out that week, and despite the tragedy of the day, they took to the water to find the handful of whales that were left.  What they discovered was that in the days following 9/11 when the ocean was calm, so were the whales.  Stress levels were low, much lower than were ever seen before, or have been seen since.

It was a tragic way to find silence.  When tragedy strikes humanity, we take a moment of silence, reverence.  Our culture, many cultures, value that moment. For 9/11 quiet was a gift that we gave to nature, to each other, and to ourselves.

Calm begin with quieting the mind.  I don't yet know how quieting the mind will lead to quieting the ocean, though I'm certain one leads to the other.

When I quiet my mind, I find peace.  Peace is an absence of longing.  An absence of want leads to an absence of material things.  The absence of things leads to the absence of production, which leads to a decrease in shipping.  Quiet.