I have not posted anything for quite a while. This is partly because I’ve been traveling (
I have not wanted to turn this blog into a confessional of any sort. I completely understand a friend of mine who, during her first visit with a spiritual director, said, “I don’t want this to be about me.”
But maybe I’m being too reticent. Lively Dust is about being human, earthbound, mortal. It’s about the interplay between spirit and flesh. If I can write about food and wine, maybe I can also write about malfunctioning bodies, even if one of them belongs to me.
I can think of several ways I’d rather spend a day.
Yes, I know my chances of full recovery are excellent. As my incredibly young doctor-chick with the perky smile and Gap trousers puts it, “Almost everybody survives. You just gotta do what you gotta do.” She’s abso
Still, I do not “go gentle into that good night,” even the good night induced by anesthesia. Though I accept that “all flesh is grass” (Isa 40.6) and that “all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Eccl 3.20), I resonate with Woody Allen’s observation: “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
The prospect of heart removal, repair, and replacement is a powerful memento mori, even though I may well go on for another twenty, thirty, even forty years. My great-great-aunt Emma, when she was 97 and living with her 94-year-old sister, Ella, said to my mother, “We’re coping fine right now, but I do sometimes wonder what we’ll do when we get old.”
Squirrel-caging isn’t all bad. After running round and round the wheel day after day, eventually this squirrel gets bored and goes off in search of nuts. Today I caramelized six pounds of onions. Tonight I will set a pound of navy beans to soak, and I will put a batch of bread dough in the refrigerator to rise overnight. Tomorrow a dear friend I have known since we were eight years old arrives from
Over the years our parents have died, our children have grown, our bodies have slowed. But thank goodness we are not pure spirits, even if the dust part of us isn’t as lively as it once was. Tomorrow night we’ll enjoy hearty peasant food and drink good red wine as we talk about books, travel, friends, family, and the way we used to scandalize the small college town where our fathers were respectable professors (“What will people think?” my mother kept wailing).
It takes a body to enjoy an evening like that. An imperfect one will do.