Bird Droppings January 31, 2022
Solitude is within one’s soul and heart
“No person, standing before this mystery, has the wisdom or the knowledge to see across the curtain. But for those who stand before their dead with aching hearts and tear-filled eyes, one affirmation endures. One truth remains…and one light shines clear. Where there has been love, there has been Life. Its birthplace was the human heart where, for thousands and thousands of years, with all peoples in all cultures, it has brought joy…built hope…been the mother of beauty…overcome fear, and given a richness and significance to the living of days that otherwise would have been absent.” William Edelen
I have just read through several of William Edelen’s sermons, or Sunday symposiums as he calls them. He passed away a few years ago at ninety-three. He was and will always be considered a remarkably free thinker who wrote about politics, religion, and love in this instance. It has been a few years since my wife visited her grandmother’s gravesite in South Central Georgia. My wife, mother, and sisters journeyed together and walked about the small church’s graveyard with their mother narrating and explaining who was who and their relationships to them.
Whenever I get a chance, I walk out behind my brother’s house and walk to my mother, father, and brother’s gravesite, situated on a hill overlooking a soccer field where children play nearly every day. It just hit me how appropriate for their resting spot. Perhaps the recent funeral of a friend and such made me think in this manner. Why do we wait for death to impart to our loved ones our innermost feelings? Why do we often find the time to go to graveyards to honor and muse about what we should have done when they were with us?
Solitude is within us,
An inadvertent meandering through Life.
I wander as I journey.
Glimpsing pieces of my Life’s puzzle.
Pondering each more intricate than the last.
Sadly I grow weary from so many missteps
Along the boulder-strewn pathway.
Every day older, my physical capabilities diminish
And my mental aptitude slows.
Names come more slowly
And memories are often either exaggerated or forgotten
Guide my thoughts.
What few seem to come to me
All linking me to past, present, and future
Pondering reality midst the travels.
Frank Bird III
It has been a few years since I rode on a bus in Washington DC from the hotel to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall. I was riding with a busload of high school kids, all giggling, laughing, singing, and yelling, and I was sitting brooding, wondering how I would react. I measured each block as we drove closer. I soon saw nothing but The Wall, a black ribbon wandering what seemed forever through the park. Students were given a token flower to place at the Wall. I walked over to a large bound volume that was on a table. The book contained the list of names on the Wall and a guide to finding where those fallen were found on numerous panels. Carefully on my hand, I wrote the names of friends from High school who perished in Viet Nam. I never got to say goodbye to any of them; I lived in Georgia before most went to war or had been too busy at school or work to realize they were gone. When I left high school, it seemed I had not kept tabs with anyone. Perhaps it was assuming I would see these guys at reunions and such. It might have been my ever-zealous desire to not be in high school anymore.
“Absolutely speaking, do unto others as you would that they should do unto you is by no means a golden rule, but the best of current silver. An honest man would have but little occasion for it. It is golden not to have any rule at all in such a case.” Henry David Thoreau
After several minutes of paging through the large book, I found a name, and it hit me. It had been nearly twenty-five years since I had seen this guy, and in my mind, he had been very much alive. His name was on the Wall about waist height, carved into the black face of an enormously large piece of rock. At that moment, the Wall stretched for miles in my mind, and I had to walk away.
“The whole circle of consciousness is an added fact to that of movement. For this reason, we cannot speak of thought as occupying space or having exact locality.” Dr. James Mark Baldwin, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, University of Toronto, 1890
Several minutes later, my son found me sitting atop a hill on a bench, looking down at the Wall. A squirrel had been running back and forth trying to get my attention, probably wanting a peanut or popcorn, of which I had neither. “Dad, it is time to go” was my pull back to reality, and I walked with my son to the buses.
“Where there has been love, there has been Life.” William Edelen
Looking back and wondering, even pondering today, do we need to take the time to realize what it is that gives us Life. Do we need to recognize how we feel now while we can more profoundly and openly? Or should we wait to eulogize and postulate as we close the lid and bury our friends and families? Or should we wait twenty-five years and stand at a Wall or monument or memorial to fallen heroes and loved ones only to lay a flower on cold marble or hand it now to warm hands. I think I will remember my friends as I sit here writing so peace, my dear friends, and please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)