Friday, April 13, 2012


A couple of years ago I gave up on my retentive mind. Every time I had come across some wise and pithy statement I thought I’d never forget, I did. So I started to compile a list of them but now the list is so long it’s like reading another book.

I just went through it and plucked out a few which I offer:

We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome... John Steinbeck

Yesterday we attended our second memorial service in two weeks. Two very dear friends have died; quite different in temperament, both very loved. I had known Marty for over sixty years. He was a quiet presence yet touched me and scores of others as if his aloneness greeted mine. He made the journey noble.

Susan was a late and brief candle in my life. She was one of those who walk in our midst living out loud. She entered our lives about two years ago and I’d only spent time with her on four occasions. At her service yesterday I first learned of her accomplishments and the full reach of her generosity. Yet with all her zest and pluck she also had her interior moments of doubt and retreat; as if her solitary time was essential to return less lonesome.

Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can be made.... Immanuel Kant

I think of those 1930 gangster flicks where Cagney or Bogart serves his time in the big house and tries to go straight, but can’t. He is shadowed by his past and the goon behind the newspaper trailing him in the subway. He is pulled back into the mob just for one last job. He owes it to Lefty. He needs the dough to help his crippled Mom and he owes it to Ida Lupino or Ann Sheridan who waited for him and now he wants to take her out of this slum to that picket fenced house in the country.

Life is like licking honey off a thorn……..Louis Adamic

Not always…but sometimes it feels that way. Everything has to be earned. There are dangers out there. Even as joy comes unbidden there can be heard dark music, the peril suggested by a distant organ. The hubris forecasts the fall. We see ourselves in that movie two-thirds of the way through when all issues seem resolved; the crop survived the storm, the manuscript was accepted, your horse came in and the kids will be coming home for the holidays when ………. However after the final NO there is a Yes.

Music recalls us to our lost unspoken selves ……Adam Phillips

I hear it and there is nothing to be said.

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