Night thoughts

You never know when the summons will come. When you’re young, you think it’s a long way away; as you grow older, you realize it might be any minute. Not just because you’re old and your infirmities multiply, but also because you become aware, over time, as young people usually aren’t, of all the contingencies: the fall, the bit of gristle lodged in the throat, beyond the reach of Dr Heimlich and his manoeuvres; the lurking blood clot, the heedless jerk in the SUV. You’ve seen it too often; one is taken and another is spared, and who knows why. You may have had a close call or two yourself, and realized how narrow was your escape.

You don’t want to become afraid and huddle, so you continue to take some risks – to go out alone in the sailboat, to scramble up the exposed rock face. But you’re not as blithe as you used to be. You know disaster hovers just over your shoulder, and any day now, disaster, having toyed with you for seven decades, will tire of waiting and decide to seize his long-deferred – and really, his rightful – prey. For you too have toyed with him.

You won’t see it coming, probably. You might have a few seconds. Enough time for a perfect Act Of Contrition? Probably not; rather, you will be hurled into the beyond screaming Oh fuck fuck fuck. One can only throw oneself on the mercy of the court, sodden and seaweedy or tumbled, bloodied, broken and shapeless, and apologize, stammeringly, for one’s ill-chosen language. I for one am not worried about that part. That Court, I suspect, is too august to be vindictive. But I’m worried about those bad few seconds.

And come they will. So before it happens one would like to make a few gestures; to tell the kids what a joy they always were – mostly; to acknowledge the saintly forbearance of lovers and spouses, and apologize sincerely for all one’s assholery. To thank whoever arranged it for one’s having seen the stars and breathed the air; to have watched the Moon come up over the open sea during a night passage through the Gulf of Maine. For that whale who came to visit the next morning, and eyed me with his big wise eye. For J S Bach and G F Handel. So much; it all crowds to mind. To put on record, in short, how amazingly lucky one has been, even with all the discontents and sorrows and regrets that dog every human track through the chances and changes of life.

Say it now, I’m thinking; because when the time comes there may not be time. So I’m saying it now.

3 thoughts on “Night thoughts

  1. flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

    funny you mention a blood clot…the trees don’t grow because life is a crap shoot. people design a society to run on stock markets and lottos because they have nothing to lose from such a system. hopefully, when you are born in the US, your parents have enough money to make significant the tax breaks that accompany having kids. that means you probably live in a zip code w/”decent” schools. but don’t you worry: if you can’t afford kids, you also can’t afford an abortion, so it works for all, right?
    The setting sun, and music at the close,
    As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
    Writ in remembrance more than things long past:
    but whate’er I be,
    Nor I nor any man that but man is
    With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
    With being nothing. Music do I hear?
    Ha, ha! keep time:
    the bard was a great believer in music. “Lust will Ewigkeit,” Mahler’s ‘misterioso’, quoting Zarathustra’s “midnight song”. people need to stimulate their Lust. and remind ourselves that the 1st commandment is, “Listen”. faith comes by hearing, right?

  2. i wound up in the ER almost a year ago w/ a pulmonary embolism that by curious coincidence happened along w/my 1st ever experience of “seizure disorder.” I feel lucky to be alive, not because of the medical care. but because of how totally screwed our society is that I was lucky to get to a place of medical care. partly because this was during peak hospitalizations due to coronavirus and I could have been delayed or even denied care, but the science and technology all “worked”, and as far as i could tell the doctors and caregivers all did their very best.

    so much money flowing around all these tests and time in the ICU and MRI’s and D-dimers and EEG’s and ambulance runs…and 80%? 90% of that money goes to financial parasites? some people sacrifice their lives and some people’s eyes bulge with fat. Trump and Biden and Hillary are the latter, but they need the former like we all do.

    i had people flat out tell me i didn’t deserve the care i received b/c i couldn’t pay the bill. they were not saying to me anything that our society doesn’t routinely say to everyone: leeches don’t pay.

    it’s the mentality and often enough the condition of a slave. i’ve now become part of the unproductive trash because I can no longer perform like the automated, computerized machine I used to. oh no, my body got in the way!

    is it true that “much learning is wearisome to the flesh”? I don’t know, Arion and the dolphin among the Philistine pirates is a good story. we sing our song and jump into the sea.

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