Not forgotten.

April 26, 2013 § 5 Comments

Magnolia Cemetery, Apalachicola, FL.Here in the Magnolia Cemetery in Apalachicola, Florida, the dead lie comfortably at rest under live oaks and sparse grass, sand spurs and plaster cherubs, scripture verses and fading silk flowers.

Some of the dead have “Gone Fishing.” Some are “Gone But Not Forgotten,” although with a death date more than 50 years past, I wonder, are all those tasked with remembering beneath the grass as well?

Still, it’s a cheerful place to wait out eternity. Conflagrations of statuary; everything from lawn jockeys to saluting soldiers to dime-store china dogs keep the dead company.

Grave gathering.It is easy to see that the living make regular visits.

Many family plots include a bench for the comfort of those not in repose. The artificial flowers, in permanent bloom, are refreshed regularly.

Walk the edges of the cemetery and you will find bright individual blooms wind scattered. They catch your eye, as if they were real. Treated with ultraviolet dyes they sometimes fool the bees and butterflies as well.

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The sum of my habits.

April 19, 2013 § 3 Comments

Some of my journals.Every evening in the quiet space between dinner and lights-out I do four things.

I stretch; always the same pattern of ridiculous moves made normal by repetition.

I found them in a book that purported to cure, or at least ease, carpal tunnel syndrome. My CTS rages on, but the exercises keep me limber and I have an interesting view of our dog Moo as she steps over me; seen from below she seems to smile.

I wash the dishes and clean the kitchen so the next day is a fresh start, none of the spills of the previous day lingering. I have a great affection for fresh starts, even if it is just the beginning of a new day.

I sing scales, pushing as close to three octaves as I can without sounding like a cat in heat.

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Is anyone out there?

April 14, 2013 § 11 Comments

I send my query into the unknown, reaching out with both hands, seeking.

Sunrise on Cadillac MountainThe religious call the act of seeking, prayer.

Religious or not, we all share a curiosity, a yearning to know something larger than ourselves.

My own seeking has taken many forms, but at first the answers were delivered to me, unsought, as big and heavy as the Sunday New York Times; the other tradition that weighted my family’s Sunday mornings.

The God of my childhood, God the Great and Good, could give me anything, which encouraged me to sit on his knee, as if he were a department store Santa, and recite my gimme list: a diary, a dog, a canopy bed.

This God was also temperamental, given to occasional smiting. Often I felt like Dorothy with my knees knocking in the presence of the Great and Powerful Oz.

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Standing down.

April 6, 2013 § 12 Comments

American flag.It was cold inside the tent at the fairgrounds, and he sat, hunched in a folding chair, wearing a baseball cap under the hood of his jacket.

As “Hot Tamale” Craig Reeder and I were there to play for any kids who had come along to the “Stand Down.”

There was music on other stages as well, but the music was just the feel-good part of an effort to give homeless veterans three nights of shelter, medical screening, a few hot meals.

Only one kid wandered into our tent, the rest were adults, which included the man who sat three vacant chairs away from the others.

Instead of the Hokey Pokey we played Hank Williams, Everly Brothers—covers from back in the day.

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