29 January 2008

This almost changes everything...

...we don't need to settle down
we live our lives upside down
to figure out
we are just like love and war, baby

...we wake up
break up
make up
fall asleep and do it all again

~Red Wanting Blue, Spies and Lovers, Pride: the cold lover, 2005

(An Oh-hia-ia based band)

Driving the other day, I woke up from zoning to note that I was on a familiar route; the same one I drove to take care of my Auntie when she was at the local hospice facility, with the above song playing on the iPod.

It made me think about how much time changes things. And how little time changes things.

When Auntie H was ill, it was fall, the most beautiful time of year here. The gently rolling hills are covered with blazes of red and orange, flashes of yellow fire, dynamic, vibrant colors. We even see the sun, a little bit, in the fall; when we do, the sky is an autumnal blue that you don't see the rest of the year, a deep, vivid hue. Combined with a crisp chill in the air, it makes me think of apple cider, Halloween costumes, new #2 pencils.

That same route in January is darker; the trunks and limbs of the trees look grey from a distance, sometimes tinged with small hints of red, but mostly dark. The farmer's fields are either plowed under, (the corn fields) or shorn of wheat. When there's no snow on the ground, everything looks dirty, from the overcast horizon on down, as if the whole world could use a good scrubbing. When there is snow, it looks clean, at least, but no less overcast.

And yet.

The road is still in terrible shape, it has needed paved for at least 10 years. The hospice still sits back a bit from the road, with a lovely view of soothing countryside. (If you can ignore the gloom; I'd probably draw the blinds rather than look out at the grey skies.) The gas station and pizzeria on the corners of the nearest 'major' intersection are still there, unchanged.

Time hasn't eased my grief a whole lot. I know I complain about this happening quite a bit, but I see people who at first glance I think are my aunt, and when I look again, there's no similarity whatsoever. That second look happens after your brain registers...'hey, there's Auntie H!' and you almost call out, and then reality crashes back down on you as you remember that she's gone. It hurts, a sharp stab that sometimes takes my breath away.

I can't help but wonder if that happens to me because my subconscious thinks about her, (with me mostly unaware as I go about my daily business) or if it is because of an explanation I like a whole lot better even though it is crazier; that there is some tenuous connection between this world and the next (if there even is an afterlife) and she wants me to know that she's all right. Because that first glance almost always shows me a big smile and I feel waves of reassurance.

The world keeps on turning, the days continue to pass by, and other things do change. Life continues, sometimes in predictable patterns...Pilates classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, nights with not nearly enough sleep, dinners contemplated and prepared, work attended to.

And then along comes something that is a change, something that does change things, or something that has the potential to make changes. We find new hope, or new ideas.

Is it as a culture, or as humanity in general that we hope for new beginnings and yet fear change at the same time?

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