Oddments

In search of story


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Vagaries in Gestation: December 21.18

My brother was stretched out in his recliner and I was lolling on his sofa, facing his side. The California sun was going down and its fading light fell over him like running water. As we talked, I became increasingly distracted. He was changing without moving. I tried to keep my part of the conversation going but it wasn’t easy; I was watching something I’d never seen before.

He morphed like some special effect from a movie, and became someone I knew but couldn’t name.  Then I realized it was our Grandpa Mauck, whom I hadn’t seen since I was about ten, when he died. The shadows had sculpted everything about my brother that was like our grandpa into our grandpa. Grandpa stayed and talked with me; my brother was gone.

It scared the bejabbers out of me. At the same time I felt there was something wonderful about it. It was ominous and reassuring all at once. I tried to talk myself out of it, but the sense of portent was there. Still it hit hard last week when I got the call: my brother had died. Our last visit was just that.

During this past year, his emails had been uncharacteristically terse. If he thought he was pulling wool over my eyes, he thought wrong. I knew his/our medical history. I knew something was going on. It wasn’t what he said; it was what he didn’t say.

I look back. As the sun went down on the other side of my brother and I could see less and less of him, I saw something more. As he communicated less and less, I heard something more.

And I think about how we grasp what’s there from what isn’t there.

 

 

Vagaries in Gestation

 


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Disconnections: October 29.18

 

When brutalities of day

give way

to candlelight of moon

do we find ease

and breathe

stillness?

Or do we ask

is it mere mask

for predator

conspirator

and illness?

 

 

Those of us who try to write struggle to find words for the anguish. Maybe there are none.

 


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Disconnections: July 14.18

Consider the grip.

You want to turn the outside faucet to get water through the hose? Grip. You want to hold the hose? Grip. You want to fill the watering can, pick it up, and tip it into the potted basil? Grip, grip, and grip.

You want to hold a mug of coffee? You want to pour more coffee into that mug? You want to lather soap, floss your teeth, scrape a bowl? Grip, grip, grip, grip, and grip.

How about squeezing the tube of toothpaste or sunscreen or the handle for a spray bottle? Grip to the nth power.

Thumb, fingers, palm, wrist and a ready back-up of arm muscles — with maybe an assist from the shoulder — pitch in.

Or not.

Some would argue that I’ve been losing my grip for a long time. Ha, ha. I’m not saying they’re wrong; I’m saying that’s not the grip I’m talking about. And I’m not saying I’m the only one with such problems — there are many, many people with limited hand movement — but I am the only one writing on this blog, my bully pulpit. And maybe I speak for others with my words.

I used to say “hold it with both hands” to my boys when they were little. Now I say it to me as I lift a glass of iced tea. My hands do not let me forget they are changing.

Yes, there are adaptive gizmos and techniques that help, and I use them. They don’t, however, unchange the change. This morning I turn to the alternative medicine known as writing. This, dear reader, is my grip gripe, and I feel better already.