Posted in Relationships, Writing

I Am A Vessel

Peony close-up
Peony close-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A standing ornamental windmill, planter boxes and peonies are all the only traces that remain of my grandparents at the cute little house on a hill in Missouri Valley, Iowa.  Their home, re-sided and shingled to modernize for resale after my Grandmother passed, has had a facelift.  Many years we drove from Arkansas up to visit them on the long Memorial Day weekend.  I can remember the white 5-gallon buckets filled with water placed in the trunk of their old brown Cadillac.  Grandma and my mother would carefully cut roses and peonies from the gardens around the house and place in the water-filled buckets.  We’d travel to several graveyards where grandma and grandpa would get out and place flowers by the headstones.

Whatever happened to that ritual? The significance of placing flowers on a grave was something I didn’t quite grasp as a child.  Time has moved swiftly, and with it, a change in our behaviors as a people, a society.  Our connectedness and communications, once like a relay of batons passed from one generation to the next…is it now just a memory?   Tonight, as I went through the first floor of the house closing windows, it was the missing sound of Katie’s clicking toenails on the foyer floor that struck a pang of sadness in my heart.  She was our family dog that we had to put down in October of last year.  I couldn’t help but contrast the weight of these memories as I walked upstairs.

My children are all tucked away in their beds; my wife is sending an email to siblings, Clara ~ our cat is lying at the foot of the bed near my feet…the plants in ceramic pots exhibiting their will to live on the bathroom counter.  These are the images and thoughts that fold around my soul as I wind down for the evening and ready myself for another week.  These weeks of work and study, meals, and routines usher my soul away from the emotional and thrust me into logistics mode.  My personal struggle is to daily find that balance where I consciously savor all things precious, waste no time on the frivolous, and focus on areas of internal weaknesses that need strengthened.

This weekend we watched “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” with Sandra Bullock.  It got me thinking about all those who lost loved ones on 9/11.  I also thought about those who across time have lost connections because of prejudice and hatred; been separated from family and all they know.  As a society, are we making choices, or are the choices making us?  Technology is influencing so many aspects of our daily lives.  Like the boiled frog syndrome, will we someday “wake up” and say, “I didn’t choose this kind of life!”  Will we regret that we allowed a bright shiny object syndrome to hypnotize us away from purposeful thinking about the small choices that are slowly making big changes to the quality of our lives?

While the windmills, planter boxes, and oak trees planted long ago stand to testify of our existence…what traces will we leave behind that have meaning or value to those who follow?  Are we shaping a generation that cares?  Does it matter?  I would have to have some help to find my grandparents graves, and my dog Katie…her ashes may have joined dust that blows in the wind…but for now at least, I am that carrier, that vessel who holds memories of yesteryear.

I am grateful to all people and creatures who once shared their passions and affection with me.  It is stories like the one of Marina Keegan who died in a car accident on Saturday that compelled me to share these thoughts with you today.  RIP Marina  I am grateful to JonahLupton ( @JonahLupton ) for tweeting a link to the story!



Eternal Optimist, Writer, Music Lover, Avid Gardener, Science & Tech Admirer, Cook, Baker and Social Networking Encourager

6 thoughts on “I Am A Vessel

  1. Thoughtful, it was those very experiences that linger long after they are gone – memories of grandparents, special moments, peaceful times – I found myself sewing, yesterday, on a machine that my grandmother gave me when I was 18 and headed off to college – it still works like a charm even though she is gone for a long time. I know, everyday, that I am shaped by those who just spent time with me – who cared to know that I was fed and clothed and that my mind and heart were stimulated. When it comes to technology – I continue to participate only to the extent that those things are present – but I think you are right – the loss of those things can creep up on us “unawares” – thank you for sharing your post – I found it moving –

  2. sorry to hear about your family pet….belated condolonces…
    ive often wodered about death,,,or passing of time,,in my study of time over the years one thing is absolute as a certainty,,,eventually all time,every life becomes a distant memory…even the earth itself,the sun,and the universe as it is today will come to pass in time,,,even the memory will fade,so often wondered whats the points…if all existance was to vanish,,,then did anything ever exist???…in memory most would say,,but memory is a physical function of the brain,and the brain dies with the body therefore,our memories are only as living,,,once we die,so do the thoughts images memories,and imagination…similar to deep sleep,,or being unconscious,,we are simply unaware…like a stone,,,or more to the point coal,which is made up of life that time had overtaken,,in death,memory,is as relevant to life as it is to coal…simply an absence of existance,,,absent from non-presence…
    ok,,i realise it all sounds like the worst thing to say,to try to comfort you in your loss,,but bear with me…its gets better,,,and im really not that morbidly inconsiderate.
    its interesting that the reason for every existance fading in time,is not just predicted,,but vital to the continuing of time,,and events that make up totality,of everything…you see its a crucial coserving quantity,,(as per Emily knowler)…that must be in the presence of any symmetry in existance…in other words for every + there must be a – and vice versa,,,otherwise in the total of eternity ++++,,,would eventualy overcome totality,as a dense blobb,unchanging,due to lack of space…ie,,an eternity is a very long time,,,13.7 billion years is an insignificant singularity,relative to eternity,,,in fact,eternity itself in an insignificant singularity,relative to its own infinity…so any + that is not opposed by a relative – would be added,,,eventually sum totaling totality,condensed as a lack of flexibility gfor any energy to be,,,and therefore all would be = to one minus any zero,of any other….no zero,means unmeasurable,and unobservable,,,and according to schroedinger,,,existing as everything,equal to nothing…so every thing thats exists here,is deducted by time,,and what absent is added…a piece of string is just an infinite line untill we find the zero before the start,and the zero where it ends…between them is one string,,,without the two edges its nothing,,because its still incomplete…01,is the beginning of a number,,,we assume the zero follows when nothing else does,,,the nothing is the zero,,,but take away the zero,,,and one continues as untotal of one…thats why everything is opposed into absence by time,,,
    and if string is unopposed eventually that would be all there is,,,an eternity is all the time required…
    anyway,,,now for the good,,,my own intuition/opinion/and from what i consider my faith….lets looks at whats absent from existance,,what is unmeasurable,unobservable…time?of course,,but its effects are real,,on a more human note,,,the energy of emotion,is whats missing,,and that energy,is what will remain,,,entropy,is the decay following decay,,expanding of space,,,but that expansion must also be conserved for any symmetry to be maintained…in the existance of +,divided into lesser ++ by decay..must be opposed by the absence of the – within,multiplying,- by every – resulting from the dividing decay,,,hence,,what is a totality of -,become a singularity of – times the total -,,,giving a resulting singularity of one,opposing all…(that would be either continuous<or may have a point end,,but that would be untotal…
    in simpler terms,,,space expands into nothing,,,time(emotion) condenses into one singularity….

    hope i didnt drift off too much,,,obviously my current studies of the physics of time,forced my creativity into more sceince than i intended…
    hope you enjoy

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