Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This January Afternoon

Walking past my fourteen-year-old's door, I freeze, surprised. He has just laughed while Skyping with a friend. That laugh sounds like no laugh I have ever heard from him. These children of mine, they become closer and closer to strangers. Loving strangers, to be sure, but strangers nonetheless.

As it should be.

I just finished reading a book*, a memoir written by a young neurosurgeon who died, far too young, of lung cancer. I've always been drawn to stories about death and dying, not because I am morbid, but because I imagine that life at its end gets stripped down pretty well to the bone, and when that happens, useful truths emerge.

From the memoir I learned that disaster means "bad star": a truth, a kind of lovely one suggesting that one's fate is determined by something as remote and unknowable as a star. There is comfort in that. Nothing is personal; no one is to blame. David Bowie is mortal, just like the rest of us. Well, why shouldn't he be?

The winter light tells all. I find beauty in how it exposes the fine lines on my face, or the places in the hardwood floor that have gone grey over time. Winter is the most honest season.

I want -- oh, no, not today, not on this January afternoon.

I want for nothing.

*Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air

1 comment:

Christine said...

January is beautiful,. but also a little jagged with cold.