A mind of mists. As I watch, you strive to work your way through, struggling with misguided judgment and, at times, enraptured by youth long gone. I feel your mind fall away on the phone as I am speaking. And having left before you’ve gone, you are here and not. You taught me that we do the best we can, knowing what we know in that moment. There is an old red door lying out on the lawn offering the sky admittance. And a mind, towns away, trying so – not to be empty.
The horizon is a marriage of reality and dream. Seagulls know this as they merge with the sun. Looking down at the clouds, man accepts that he can and cannot fly. A baby is alive and unharmed in a tree after a tornado. A firefighter walks into a raging blaze and back out. We are free to be the fact and the mystery of life at any moment. Within each of us, there is a blue horizon.
As I sat in the lobby of a doctor’s building, he attracted my attention – reminding me so much of my father, recently deceased. He dressed neatly like my father had his whole life. My father had even worn a similar windowpane shirt. This man today was old – Asian – and walked lightly with a cane which grazed the carpet as if it might break if he dared put the full force of his years upon it. He spoke softly to the young American woman walking beside him, perhaps so she too would remain unbroken. He wore a wide brown belt that held him together at the waist. They paused, as though allowing me a moment with my father. Then the two walked away slowly. I heard him gently tell her he lived alone, now that his wife had passed. And there was a brief hesitation in which he collected the pieces of his breaking heart as I made haste to gather mine.
The old widower who lived there had passed away – they said at the yard sale. Though I had no intention of gardening, I chose to buy a gardening journal – all handwritten. “Notes of a Gardening Season” was printed on the cover. On the first page, June 4th, he began with the words: A night blooming garden and give her the moon. I was struck by these words. On the fifth page, within the paragraphs, he’d written: evening primrose – she loses all inhibition. He continued two days later with: moon flowers – how I have loved! There are entire pages in which he writes of never having loved anyone, but my wife, Simone. It wasn’t until the end of the journal on September 14th that he wrote: Simone has passed in her sleep. I shall never love again. Take me, Lord. In one season, he gave his wife the moon and the stars. And in the end, his only wish – to follow her there.
What would you have me say? A golden retriever made off with my heart. From far and wide, tennis balls would congregate under our china cabinet. In secret, one empty plastic flower pot from our greenhouse would find its way to the middle of the lawn to stand alone in summer. Its motive was never discovered. You may not know, but Beethoven was Miles Davis on any given day when we settled in to listen. And walking away from hors d’oeuvres left within easy reach was tantamount to a crime. In these ways, Duffer Dan divulged what the best of life could be. And though I may have forgotten much of his wisdom, on many an evening I still wait for love to quietly carry away one of my Bean boots in its soft mouth to the cool tile floor in the kitchen where it will drool a love poem there upon the leather just for me.