Monday, December 28, 2009

Fragile and Fleeting

This gone now.

Life is fragile and fleeting. Even the most solid things turn out to be ephemeral or change before our eyes. We are the most fragile thing in the landscape, though. Well, except for certain other living creatures.

This is a change I embrace. Really. Except, of course, when it takes my body down an inexorable hill and takes my friends and family away forever, here and there, randomly.

I'm writing this because I like the words ephemeral and inexorable. Not really. But I do like them. I wonder when I learned them. Did I find them in an article in The New Yorker? And run to the 'old school' paper and board dictionary (my favorite American Heritage one that I had several editions of?) to see the definition. Why have these words stuck in my head and left me confident of theirs definitions when words like jeremiad always send me back to the dictionary (premier, twenty bucks a year)?

Seeing my dad's decline, reviewing say the last seven years since my mom died, makes me realize how you lose things, bit by bit and step by step. One day you can, the next day you really can't, you rehab but don't come all the way back.

And yet, we can build up. I haven't exercised enough the last two months, too entrapped in my dad's illness and my own sloth while sitting around with him in hospitals, at home, waiting to do what he needs. When I get back into my program, my stamina and muscle tone will improve. Indeed, the simple home PT my dad is getting is helping him make gains back. Against the grain, improvement while declining.

We improve, we slip, we slide. It's over. It's enough to make you eat good food, drink good wine, have a cocktail or two, listen to music and do frivolous things. And...when I've escaped the care-giving mode? That's just what I've done. And I've only managed to feel a little guilty about it.

Today's shop window reflection self-portrait is intended to convey the fleeting and fragile feeling (very alliterative!) and was taken Saturday at the wonderful Mercury gift shop on Second Street.

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