Waste Not Thine Hour

Today I drove to my knit because I had a doctor’s appointment on the other side of town right afterwards…As I knit, I conjured up the image of the rowboat that I hope to create to complete my installation after the knitting is complete.  Today it was made of sugar-cubes, glistening white and delicate in the middle of a yarn “sea.”  I imagined the wall text saying the sugar boat symbolizes the sweetness and impermanence of life.  I thought about how short a human life is–the duration of a sugar cube dissolving in a cup of coffee, or an eye opening and closing.  Compared to the life span of stars, geologic time, what am I?  Although it might seem morbid, I think about my death almost every day–I hasten to add, it’s not because I’m suicidal–but because it motivates me like nothing else.  I feel a sense of urgency knowing that just as my life had a very specific beginning when I emerged crying and red from my mother on a sunny Wednesday in Seattle, so too my life will have a definite endpoint.  (Had it been raining, I would have been named “Sunny Rain” by my nature loving parents but I was mercifully spared.) There is a text that runs the length of the old Lowell Middle School in Bellingham, WASTE NOT THINE HOUR, exemplifying a kind of gravitas that is so missing from pop culture.  I’m not afraid of dying so much as I’m afraid of running out of time to express everything that wants to come through me.  I am pregnant with paintings, sculptures, a book, jewelry, fruit trees, trips to Paris and Assisi.  Potentiality.  I’m sure if you could crack open anyone’s shell for a peek, you would find this wonderful, foaming ferment of life just waiting to emerge.

So, given the sugar rowboat vision today, I was saddened but not surprised when C. visited me at the bench today and told me that our neighbor had discovered another tumor two weeks ago and is resuming chemotherapy today in Seattle. I had sensed that something was amiss–D. and C. are usually so gregarious, but they have been holed up in their home, except to mow the lawn or hop in their car.  “It’s hard for all of us,” C. said as she crossed the street to pick up the neighbors’ recycling bins and put them away.  “She is one in a million.”  We all want her to pull through, want to hear her laughter floating on the breeze again from her dinner parties on the back porch.  I barely know her except for the glimpses of her in the morning to take in the newspaper or get in her car yet I still want to see her to get well, to take that trip to Sicily with her love, to enjoy as much life as she has given so selflessly to others…

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