The soundtrack to this story is throw silver by mecca normal (the song is used without permission and produced by K records). For, many years now, this song has brought up so many feelings in my gut. It makes me long for something and at the same time it makes me feel buried in the beauty of the present that is made by all of the pieces of the past.
The soundtrack reverberates with the theme of generations—coming and then passing subtly and ever-so-real from this world into the place of dust and stone. There are practical things in my life that are making these thoughts so present and persistent, but also there is this propensity within me to care about that which has happened before I lived and to think and care deeply about that which is to come after I pass from the living.
Two months ago, K’s 96 year old grandmother was moved from her apartment to a nursing home. We have been going through her things and hauling old pictures, and letters, and keepsakes, and pottery, and the belongings of a woman who held onto objects as if they were oxygen to our house, so we too can hold onto these things as our own oxygen.
All of these brittle belongings are lifted and looked at and cared for by us and then I move to my gardens and weed and mulch and fork the soil. I am so much more at peace with my hands in the earth, but I also love to hold onto the remnants of human laughter caught in a photograph or an old note.
And maybe in this time—this very specific time of dying, cause, yes K’s 96 year old grandmother is beginning to pass (she is starving herself)—I am drawn even more to the land and the birds and blueberries.
These words from Bill McKibben’s essay entitled Enoughness (he wrote a whole book entitled Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age) fit in nicely to the throw silver soundtrack busting through my head and this post, "Nature schools us in sufficiency—its aesthetic and its economy demonstrate ‘enoughness’ at every turn. Time moves circularly through the natural world—next spring there will be wild flowers again…The testimony of the rest of creation is that there’s something to be said for fitting in. And because of that, the natural world offers us a way think about dying, the chief craziness for the only species that can anticipate its own demise. If one is a small part of something large, if that something goes on forever, and if it is full of beauty and meaning, then dying seems less shocking.”
In the gardens and the woods I see that all will continue. In the eyes of a granddaughter looking at her grandmother’s past in objects, I see that generations will go on. It is a story; an okay story—set to the sparse guitar and creaky voice of a two person band I have loved for too many years to count (this particular song is slower than much of their other rather loud and irritating-but in a good way-music).
Below is a little quicktime slideshow with photos of the community garden, K’s grandma and some of her old pictures, pics of food and backyardness and my art, and flowers, and lake Michigan, and some of k’s grandma’s furniture from the 1930s all with Mecca Normal’s Throw Silver in the background.
Protected: waning days
5 months ago