NaPoWriMo #18

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Some Thoughts on the Approaching End 

I keep trying to remind myself that I’ll be dead soon, the way we will all be dead soon.  The trick is to do this in such a way that I remember to live, but not in such a way that it keeps me up until 4am. 

When I lived in Minneapolis and dated J (the second J I dated in Minneapolis), I would sometimes think about how he would be handy in an apocalypse.  He was a carpenter and could build things.  In general, he delighted in finding practical solutions for problems in the physical plane, and would often discuss “rigging things up.”  He knew how engines worked, and also literal riggings on sailboats, if that’s a thing.  On one of our early dates, he assured me that the sailboat we were on on a very large, very windy lake could not possibly be knocked over.  Later he said, “Oh, no.  It could totally have been knocked over.”  In this way he was comforting for a time. 

These days I think of making my way to Ohio to live in a post-apocalyptic compound with my friend R, who has much experience based on the post-apocalyptic compounds of her childhood, her natural tenacity, and also her studies in philosophy.  She can grow things and tend to horses and probably rig things up, as well.  In addition, I’m certain she could start a new goddess cult if needed. 

Dropping my son off at school, I try to take a picture of his back as he walks up stairs with his friend Lucy to return his library book. At first they looked so small and determined, their little backs outlined in a hazy morning light, but by the time I opened the camera on my phone, the light had gone and other kids were rushing up the stairs beside them.  “I’ll just have to remember this moment,” I think.  On my way home I think about how as children, if we are lucky, we humor adults who want to take pictures of us looking small and serious and moving into a new stage with a small compatriot beside us.  Then the whole world starts to blur and shine because I guess I’m crying. 

I listen to a podcast very late at night when I cannot sleep. A British man speaks into my ear explaining that our “Barley Mother” is what the first person to cultivate grain is sometimes called.  Mesopotamia, the land between two rivers … the Fertile Crescent … modern-day Syria and Iraq.  I think of sitting with my elementary school class in Knoxville learning of the Tigris and the Euphrates from Mrs. Hill.  Or maybe this is wrong.  Maybe I heard about it from Mr. Martin in West Germany.  He was the teacher who read us Shel Silverstein every afternoon and Where the Red Fern Grows.  “Women will save me,” is something that has been popping into my head lately, amended by “or anyone kind.”  Sleepless Blanche DuBois, thinking the kindness of strangers… thinking warmongers pounding the land that was Mesopotamia, trying to drive our mother back into the ground… thinking the earth itself is our mother, assholes… before finally sleeping, if only for a few hours.  

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