Tuesday, September 25, 2012

and then she sang a lullabye

i live in a gentrified community.  it used to be considered the poor part of town complete with dilapidated housing and slum lords but about 30 yrs ago families started moving in and changing the makeup of the community.  my own church community moved into the area about 30 years ago and began to set up family homes or households of different family makeups so there are some (including me) that believe that Grain of Wheat Church Community had a significant hand in the rebirth of our part of town.  when the typical Pegger talks about the part of town where i live they come out with some regular stereotypes stating that we're full of tree hugging, sandal wearing, mosquito loving environmentalists, metrosexuals, homosexuals, left leaning pinko commies and what-not.
i tell you all that so that i can tell you this story.  i was commuting to work on the bus last week and as i was leaving the hippie-haven where i live we came to the last bus stop in my part of town.  there standing at the stop waiting to be picked up were the usual suspects; the immigrant single mom and the university student bound for her long trek across town to class, but also there was a young woman with a stroller.  i had never seen this woman before.  i could scarcely call her a woman, she was a child really but she had a infant little girl with her; a strong, healthy little girl.  as they came on the bus my first thought was that babies shouldn't be having babies and i wondered where the child's father might be and what support he could be providing a child who so desperately would need all help that could be offered.  the mother scarcely looked 20 yrs old, if she even had those many years under her belt but she sat directly across the aisle from me on the bus.
the teen mom spent her time talking to her child and giving her the couple of rattles that were available for her little one to play with.  her child was healthy and obviously happy.  the world moved on as the bustle of life continued around them.  the regulars came and left each on their own little journey for the day, the bus in all its noise and power whirred its way down busy streets while a youthful mother played with her little one.  it was a beautiful thing to behold and few bothered to take the time to behold it.
as my commute continued eventually there came the soft and beautiful voice of a mother singing her child to dreamland.  the whir of the bus continued, students and employees came and went and still a mother sang a lullabye.  eventually as we headed down Portage Ave the usual drone of conversation and small talk between regulars became a hushed silence while the ongoing whir of a diesel engine continued down the busiest street in the city.  a mother leaned close to her little one and sang her to dreamland.  for a while all you could really hear instead of a drone was "and mommy will catch you, cradle and all" in an innocent and pure tone.
it was a moment of beauty against a background of dull, grey whirring and bustle.

and mommy will catch you, cradle and all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

hello, it's me again

i know, i know, where have i been all summer?  well, i've been right here trying to live and eek out my existence in relative fear and trembling.  it's been a busy summer.  we did reno's on the house, significant reno's to the top floor.  i also had a full summer of baseball and work.  days of commuting on my bike and evenings of calling balls and strikes.  i had to throw 2 guys out of baseball games this summer, one batter for threatening a pitcher and one coach for trying to intimidate a kid umpire.  that sort of stuff just doesn't play with me very well, i don't like bullies.
i haven't had many instances where i felt like i had much to say.  i still don't know that i do except i was struck by a lengthy quote from Herman Hesse read to me last night that talked about our own mortality.  after a short search i was able to find it in the magazine where it was quoted from last night.

Occupy Death

The world does not give us very much now; it often seems to consist of nothing but noise and fear, and yet grass and trees still grow. And if one day the whole world should be covered with concrete boxes, the clouds will still be playing up above, and here and there people will still, with the help of art, be holding open a door to the divine.
I have come from the city, where after a long absence I was once more among people, and I have sat in a train, seen pictures and sculptures and heard wonderful new songs by Othmar Schoeck. Now the joyful breeze brushes my face just as it caresses the nodding anemones, but as it whirls up a swarm of memories in me like a dust cloud, a reminder of pain and transience rises from my blood into my conscious mind. Stone on the path, you are stronger than me! Tree in the meadow, you will outlast me, and perhaps so will you, little raspberry bush, and perhaps even you, rose-scented anemone.
For a single breath I sense more profoundly than ever the transience of my form, and I feel drawn into transformation – to the stone, the earth, the raspberry bush, the tree root. My thirst is for the signs of passing, for the earth, the water and the withering of the leaves. Tomorrow, the day after, soon, soon I shall be you, I shall be leaves, I shall be earth, I shall be roots, I shall write no more words on paper, I shall no longer smell the regal wallflower, I shall no longer carry the dentist’s bill around in my pocket, I shall no longer be pestered by menacing officials demanding proof of citizenship, and so – swim cloud in the blue, flow water in the brook, bud leaf on the bough, I have sunk into oblivion and into my thousand-times-longed-for transformation.
Ten and a hundred times more you will grasp me, enchant me and imprison me, world of words, world of opinions, world of people, world of increasing pleasure and feverish fear. A thousand times you will delight me and terrify me, with songs sung at the piano, with newspapers, with telegrams, with obituaries, with registration forms and with all your crazy odds and ends, you, world full of pleasure and fear, sweet opera full of melodic nonsense. But never more, may God grant, will you be completely lost to me, devotion to transience, passionate music of change, readiness for death, desire for rebirth. Easter will always return, pleasure will always become fear, fear will always become redemption, and the song of the past will accompany me on my way without grief, filled with affirmation, filled with readiness, filled with hope.

i'll be chewing on that for awhile.