At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

Sweet Sadness

Every loving soul is fated to grieve. It is the human condition (it’s probably true of all creation, but the mysteries of the human soul are more than enough for me right now). I would guess that there are as many ways to grieve as there are reasons to grieve.

I’ve felt grief as a silent scream so anguished it could crack the sky. I’ve experienced a grief that strangles – the unrelenting asphyxiation of the spirit. Grieve like this too often or for too long and you will surely lose your soul.

If I am to grieve, let me grieve as a melancholic. Melancholy is a sweet sadness. It is a longing. It is an adagio for cello. It is the sense of loss as darkness descends upon an infinite ocean. It is a quiet rain on a warm summer night. It springs from reveries of love and beauty. It is the remembrance of emotions so beautiful, and so profound, that your heart aches to relive those feelings just one more time...and it is the ache of knowing that you cannot. Melancholy resides in the heart. It is the sorrow of unrequited longing to feel ecstasy again...the heart forever yearning to feel blessed.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My Little Apple Tree (draft #27)

All week long I’ve raged against my inadequacies. I’ve wrestled with words and lost...repeatedly.

I wanted to write about the apple tree in my backyard. She has been my meditation all summer. I sit outside at all hours of the day and night and quietly observe the life teeming around that little tree. She’s the main spar in a circus tent filled to overflowing with curious souls whose lives are filled with drama, excitement, fear, pathos, suffering, gluttony, mischief, serenity, beauty, dignity, wisdom, valor and love.

This humble tree is important to many…and to me.

I wanted to put these meditations into words and woefully discovered that my talents are sorely lacking. Everything I wrote felt maudlin, superficial, or Disney-esque. I think part of my problem is that I’ve yet to fully wrap my mind around the interconnectedness of it all. To sit and reflect upon something as commonplace as an apple tree - and the birds and mammals that that she nurtures - takes me down a rabbit hole towards deeper meanings and deeper truths and even deeper still towards...what to name it? God? The Ultimate Observer? The Oneness of Life? How does one parse Awe? How can I express the awe within me and the awe at the heart of the universe (is there a difference?)? I can’t do it. I tried...believe me...I tried. I give up. All I can say is that this exercise has left me pondering: Which is the more benign, beneficent and blessed creation...the little apple tree or I?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Music Died

All summer long, my world has been deathly quiet. This is something unexpected, strange and rather unnerving.

There has always been music in my life. My earliest childhood memories come bathed in classical music. A symphony was always playing in this toddler’s head. The glories of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Sibelius, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Liszt (my father’s favorites) enveloped me and nurtured me as I grew inch-by-inch. In those days, I thought the music was soothing and pretty. It served as a balm for the hurts of an impoverished life.

By age ten, I had developed my own musical sensibilities. This was the era of rock and roll, the heyday of Motown, the British invasion and psychedelic music. The songs mirrored the turbulent times perfectly. Every testosterone-fueled emotion in this youth’s heart was captured in the music of the day. My hair was long. I played drums in a rock band. Music was practically my entire life. Whether stoned or straight, infatuated, lovelorn, angry, hopeful, disillusioned, inspired, tormented, crazy, orgasmic or thrilled…somebody, somewhere, somehow crafted music to fit my mood. The music played on and on.

I came to truly appreciate classical music in my thirties. It took a bit of living before I could understand the sublime experience that a symphony could offer. My father was proud and thrilled to find that I had cultivated my own unique taste. We both felt great joy in sharing our favorite operas and symphonies. We took it one step farther…I introduced my father to my rock roots. Slowly, he began to hear and understand. Pity that he passed away…there was so much left to share.

My love of classical music did not diminish, in any way, my passion for rock. In fact, my musical horizons kept expanding with every passing year. In my forties, I began exploring every musical genre. The creativity, nuance, and sheer majesty of the human heart and soul can be found in sound. I devoured music in huge gulps, but my appetite only grew larger.

It came to be that, after a lifetime of listening, I had somehow managed to create an amazing jukebox somewhere within my neural network. I could recall a song at will – “hearing” it in its entirety. I would recall a song to fit every possible emotion. I would compile mixes that reflected the ebb and flow of my heart. My life had a soundtrack. It was rich and it was comforting.

The music died this summer. All is silence (except for the unrelenting screech of tinnitus in my ears). My head is crammed and cramped with thoughts, memories, fragments of sentences, disjointed observations, and all the clutter generated by a brain that doesn’t sleep. But no music. My drums are gathering dust. CD’s lie about idly. I can think of no song that fits my mood. I have no interest in the music that comforted me when I was grieving for loves who had passed away. Songs of the lovelorn and weary do not seem to resonate. I have absolutely no interest in rhythms of any sort. All is silence.

The silence scares me. I’ve never experienced a quiet such as this. What does it mean? Has my soul lost its song? Could I have truly displaced or shattered some essential part of me? Or could it be that the soundtrack is still playing? Could it be that our protagonist has experienced an existential crisis (with music swelling and multiplying in intensity)…has he suffered a death in life? Could it be that the soundtrack has stilled to quiet only to rise again to mark the denouement of his life story? I don’t know. I do not know what the silence means.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

It Is Time

Not long after I entered the sixth decade of this ramshackle enterprise I call my life, I began to reflect on all that I have witnessed, experienced and learned. Memories and reveries began peeking out from my subconscious and soon became frequent guests.

I suppose this phenomenon may be attributable to the aging process (either that, or I’ve ingested a few too many psychotropic substances over a few too many years). No matter the reason, I am awash in reminiscence. I’ve come to see that time has stripped these memories of detail. The insignificant particulars have slowly eroded to become mere sediment in a sea of amnesia. What are left are kernels of experience and truth.

I began to wonder why particular memories came back to me so often. Why do I relive certain experiences over and over and over again, but not others? What are my mind and heart trying to tell me? I found myself becoming ever more pensive. I don’t know what these reveries mean, but I feel compelled to find out. The only way I can hope to divine their meaning is to translate these voiceless musings into words.

I am no writer. I’ve never kept a journal. Although I’ve maintained a sporadic correspondence with various and sundry friends, I’ve never tried to consistently hone this craft or develop any particular versatility with words (come to think of it, I’ve never consistently applied myself to anything…I am a restless soul). I predict this blog will showcase my shortcomings. So be it. I may not be able to find the best words, but I hope to at least find honest words. I want to know the truth about my life and my self.

I cannot think of a more appropriate title for this undertaking than to call it At Twilight. Twilight is when my nocturnal soul emerges. Twilight is when magic happens. As the hubbub of the day recedes, as shadows lengthen and vesper bells begin to ring, my mind grows quiet and my soul begins its whispering.

It is time. My day is drifting towards night. The streets are empty and the trees have grown still. It has been a long, long day…54 years and counting. I seek repose. I seek to reflect on the day’s experience to glean some measure of understanding. Lights begin to flicker in amber glow through windows all around me. It is twilight.

It is time.

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