Thursday, June 7, 2012


           Back to R. I. for another truck load of stuff from my brother's apartment. A work bench that I can use. Odds and ends of kitchen things - there weren't many - how many pots does a person need to heat up a can of soup? That doesn't even seem like a question to me as much as a blank and satisfying statement. A small television used for sunday football games with take out pizza and a couple beers. And paper back books. A quick estimate in the stupid heat of a humid afternoon hauling them down a flight of stairs was around 800. Mostly political thrillers and the star wars books.
    And oh there was a house plant that I now remembered from two weeks ago. I watered it then before I left. My thoughts were someone had to have given it to Tim. Maybe after mom died. I can't see Tim as someone who bought a houseplant. Not that he wouldn't care for it. But I don't think he'd go out of his way to have a plant. Maybe I'm wrong. I said to the plant you look like you need a ride. Had to be the hottest day to haul shit away...
   On my way down the stairs one trip, a neighbor in the complex held the door for me and asked, are you still at it? Yea I thought. It's just a call that's been placed in my hands. Naturally, just as I rolled into town and was driving north on School Street a truck passed me and I said man that guy looks like Al. Five minutes later Al pulls up. Goes like that. The way it goes. You leave a phone message for someone and the next day they appear to help out... like magic, like technology, like love...
   So cleaned out two file cabinets and a closet. So weird. To pack away the flotsam and jetsam of another person's life into a truck with out of state plates and then haul it away - to recycling to the dump to storage to perpetuity. And what of that brings the responsible one, namely me, nearly bone close to the present? Don't know. And that thought was a little troubling. Had to leave mom behind though. The photograph. And why bring those ashes all the way inland to my home in Burlington when in three weeks time I'd just turn around and bring those ashes back to the sea? That's how I explained it to the plant. It was tired and withered looking. I gave it some water and fussed over it.        
    Anyway I said to the plant you're coming with me.
    I guess it was another phase complete. Truck packed. Sweating like mad on the summer earth and feeling crappy over the loss of the dead -  I grabbed cold beers and drove out to Watch Hill. With a peace lily riding shotgun. The guy at the beer store said you look like you could use these! So with two hours free parking to be had - it's a moneyed area and enforced as such or else - I went out walking on the beach. Threw a jacket over the plant against the windshield as a sun screen and the best shade I might offer. I think the plant understood. Better probably than I did.
   When I walked far enough I stopped and flopped in the waves.  And the weather in the surf was different. A sweet breeze. Less humidity. Ah. Salt water. What's about it that grabs you like a call and won't let go until you dive in? Perhaps it's nothing more than getting away from the heat... Anyway I've had this walk many times before. Out to Napatree and back...  with my dog Mckinley and mom's dog back in the day. Back when everyone was alive as I later said to the plant...
   It feels so strange to wake up one day and be the last one standing. Like suddenly you've got extra  gravity dumped on your feet.
  Checked into the motel for the night. A much needed shower. Another glass of water for the plant.
  And it was too creepy - like where's Norman Bates - and too boring - like who can I drunk dial -  to be in some motel room around six in the evening on a beautiful night with nothing else to do but watch the news and weather from Providence and wait around for pizza delivery and then watch a few innings of the Red Sox/Tigers game on television before crashing out. Creepy and boring are enough I said to the plant. So we went back out driving some more.
  Back to the ocean where all this began. Back at the parking lot at Sam's Snack Bar. Often the heavens are viewed as the ocean of space, so, adjacently speaking, why not the ocean as the space of heaven ...  Just looking out into the sea, the Atlantic, and I guess the end place where my family will ultimately be.
    What I was doing I guess was trying to gather some sense of Tim in the abstract and tried to bring it home to the evening where I was. He lived fishing. He literally died fishing. I guess I was looking for a blessing. But it's a fools errand to expect something back from your own gaze. Waves in. Waves out. The waves coming in had a slap crash muffle sound to them. The waves going back out there was almost a sound of crystal tinkling as they land and were pulled away and then got lost back into the big water in the pull of the tides. Maybe that's all there is. But I want to believe there's so much more.
   Sun going down back over my shoulder if I cared to look back over that shoulder toward Weekapaug and the salt pond where he died. I simultaneous felt like jumping off the world and falling in love with accents both on that one long sigh that gives us pause and has another breath for us for another day in the world...
   A good sadness will do that to you I said to the plant.
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