I haven’t posted for a long time. Fervor and the repair of self are selfish demons that demand nourishment. In short I have had nothing to say, or if I had something to say I lacked the will to say it.
In my 81st year I am experiencing a passage, one at the opposite end of birth. Although I am reasonably healthy, the end is in sight, not actually in my vision, not that I can feel the creeping hand of death, not that I am steeped in fear, but I am vaguely aware of this event called a “passage.”
We do not talk about death, about the end, about the various beliefs surrounding death that bounce around the world like headless chickens and over which people kill each other. One with a bandana over his head and another with a cross hanging around his neck argue, “It is all right that I kill you because you don’t believe about death the way I do. And I will kill your children too and not even get my hands bloody because I can kill them by pressing a button in some secret building in America, the land of the free.” But I have strayed.
We do not talk about death because we are too afraid of it. Perhaps if we talk about it, it might come knocking at our door. In a way, it is like getting into an airplane without a parachute. The plane is crowded, shoulder to shoulder with passengers all of whom will be required to exit the plane before the plane lands. Some read their Bibles, and some pray. Some make bad jokes and drink a lot of whiskey and some pretend they are not in the airplane. We are all in this plane together, yet we do not love each other or offer much comfort one to another. Instead we rob and lie and cheat and threaten each other and we pick the pockets of the poor and watch the old who suffer incomprehensible pain and refuse to help them off the plane as they beg, but insist instead that they suffer all hellish pain to the end.
In this age of science we create ridiculous fantasies on the same level as the Easter bunny and Santa Claus, about life eternal to be endured with angels who have wings in a airy place of joy and endless harp music. And we scorn those who question such beliefs. Adult thinking about life or death is not permitted by the spiritual leaders we turn to for wisdom and comfort, for if we do not think like children our spiritual leaders cannot control us with fear and fairy tales. But they too are in denial of the truth: They too have to exit the plane. Jump!
I dreamed once that I was walking along the edge of a precipice and slipped off. In a panic I grabbed the only object available, a small bush that was growing over the edge. Below me was a canyon many thousands of feet deep and below that the canyon’s rocky bottom. As I clung desperately to the bush I could feel its roots slipping away. I had a choice, as we always have choices. I could either hold on to the bush and scream panic out into the empty landscape until the roots gave way and I fell, or I could let loose and enjoy the trip down. I have always wanted to fly.