The year is listing. Soon the calendar will fall, weary from the weight of days. Our past will be vaster. More memories to sculpt while the clay is still soft. I can write of the dog we don’t have that didn’t die or the trips we took without leaving home. Thanks to Judy and Len’s photos we traveled to Italy, Galapagos, New York and Cuba, or was that the year before? I’m looking forward to their next adventure. Transport is so much easier this way.
2014 is also bent from the sum of its summaries; ten best films, books, frozen yogurt shops… five worst cities. 100 years ago the Great War (as opposed to the Good War) was well under way. The promise of returning home by Christmas was exposed as a flagrant lie. Today we have no great or good wars. Only occupations, tribal attacks, police actions, regime change and skirmishes without end. The have-nots still haven’t got. And the haves have more stashed away than ever dreamed of.
By years end it seems appropriate to put some issues to rest. Forgiveness versus punishment was the topic over our Thai lunch yesterday. My nature abhors the punitive, his borders on revenge. By dessert we agree that in the case of Dick Cheney accountability would be fitting and proper, with or without a commuted sentence. My instincts run for the pardon even with a sadist like our former Vice President.
Means vs. ends is one of those topics that doesn’t get resolved. One of the most intense yet artful and thought-provoking movies this year was, Whiplash, which explores the relationship between teacher, a manipulative, abusive, brow-beating conductor/teacher and student, a driven, very talented jazz drummer. The tactics used by the mentor drive the young man close to the edge raising the question, what price is too high to pay for excellence. I still cling to the belief that great passions are served best with gentle encouragement. We become our best critics. Perhaps we think too much in terms of outcomes; the what instead of the how.
Any act that diminishes our humanity serves little purpose. There are already too many forces uncaged and supported by societies around the map that threaten our existence.
There have been deaths this year close to home. Sam was my late-ex-step-husband-in-law, once removed, Peggy’s former mate and father of my step-son. We never spoke of our commonality but over time found our resonance. He became a close and dear friend as if we were related. There are people among us whose spirit of generosity flows so constantly and quietly one hardly notices. Sam was such a presence.
At a certain age, each year becomes a win in the human lottery. And we didn’t even buy a ticket. The payoff is not dollars but days. We’ll take it. Peggy is approaching 94. So says the calendar which we learned long ago is the supreme fiction. No rose gardens are promised nor do we expect one of thorns. I'd settle for a meadow with hills rolling like Buddha's belly. My wish is for all my family and friends to be around a year from now. Otherwise I’d have to send my pre-posthumous blogs to the next realm where delivery is uncertain.