1. It's been a long and very full weekend. I have no hope of putting together a coherent post, especially after a couple of Lagunitas IPAs and a Chicago Classic pizza at Lou Malnati's.
2. But stuff has been splatting on the windshield of my spirit, like insects on a long night drive. Can't ignore the mess.
3. I've sung Morten Lauridsen's Lux aeterna three times in the last 24 hours. It's gorgeous. It's ethereal. It's not even all that hard to sing. I've purposely stayed away from taking in the translation of the Latin, even from thinking about it. I can't produce the space and the sound and the support for the musical line if I'm thinking about that eternal light and my dear ones who rest there. (Or in Kris's case, are playing Frisbee with Jesus--my mind went there briefly during one performance and had to be rapidly called back to the Latin.)
4. Space and sound and breath embody Spirit in music, which lifts earth to heavenly spheres of joy and laughter and light. Is that, maybe, incarnation in reverse?
5. More than once today, I found myself wondering if we have taken the hard edge off sainthood, or have sentimentalized the inevitable grief of living with our teary remembrances of dear ones, our candles lit for "saints" now in heaven with God. For "all of us," says the canticle, "all of us go down to the dust." And then—dear God!—24 people (is that the most recent total?) are murdered at 11:30 on a Sunday morning in a Baptist church in Texas. The incense of shock and sorrow barrels across Twitter and Facebook and internet news sites, as a few prophetic voices cry, this should not be! But sadly, we feel more and more helpless each time this happens. And what other response is there then, than sentimentality over the stories of the dead.
6. "I am not resigned," said Edna St. Vincent Millay in "Dirge Without Music."
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
7. I'm with Edna--not resigned, though I have seen the ashes on the hard ground, even as the spirit of loved ones lost flows all around me and within me, in memory, in thought, in joys, in places, in people.
8. Spent some time with Kris's friends, who were "krawlin' for Kris" along Madison Street in Forest Park last night, visiting the bars they'd hung out in together, before his ALS diagnosis, before the wheelchair, before he died. I'm not good at late nights in bars with funny stories, teasing, pool tables and punching bags--never was. But it was good to be with them for a short time, to hug them, to enjoy their company, even as a totally sober old person.
9. A friend pointed out to me today that to call a maple tree losing its leaves in fall a birthday tree is to put death into a larger context, to suggest that something else is coming into being. A poet, perhaps, could say this elegantly in sixteen lines, or twenty--and would discard or hide these random notes. Me--I'm going to hit publish and pick up my knitting.