Farewells


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I'm hanging in the balance of the reality of men - Bob Dylan

Will I see you again, my mother would say to that gigantic tree next to the pool, where you look out into the Blue Ridge Mountains, their blue profile, tinted in autumn indigo, defining your view in the west. A ribbon of ionized air.

Perpetual farewells: Servus, as we say in Bavaria.

Of course, we humans live an illusion. It’s not us, it’s the others who fall ill, or have an accident, or die. It is unfathomable, and of course we would lack every incentive to act did we not live in the bubble of tomorrowland.

And then there is an exhilarating joy in being aware of time, precious god of existence.
To love with all one’s soul, writes V. Nabokov, and it feels right to me. I do love. I have nothing and no one I loathe.

All I need is to stay a bit to the side. But I have no capacity to be otherwise. I love every day, even if others find it dreadful. I cannot sympathize with them. I don’t hang on the fickle weathervane of moods. Of course, I do not have to labor in 95 degrees of moist heat.

Last year I fell in love. I was not interested in the man, not at all. He felt like a trivial souvenir. But then he convinced me, or rather, the situation persuaded me.

There was a sad, metallic poetry about him. He both approached and fled the moment. He was perturbed by the personal problem of aging, despite being only half my age; and yet we looked fine together; the age difference did not bother anyone, certainly not me. I found it rather intriguing.

Of course, I couldn’t help seeing a son in him. And then my curiosity led me through this imprisoned addict’s labyrinth, for months of discovery fueled by real love. And yet I was not really in it, I was an onlooker, a guest, a visitor, still in my own galaxy.

I just let what happened happen, because there was nothing to gain or lose. And yes, the kaleidoscope of emotion traversed a spectrum of sensations I had not felt in some time.

Love is like rain, there is nothing you can do to stop it. And we have that inert need to belong, if only briefly. We are solitary heroes of our days. But the feeling we attribute to love makes us belong. Of course that is easier with the dog you belong to, or vice-versa.

Game of Texts:

Sabine: Tomorrow I see Peter at 7pm. We are meeting to plan a fashion shoot. How should I act? I am quite calm, but something is boiling and I want your suggestions, my dear. You always know what to do. Love, S

Beatrix: Be gorgeous and light and sweet as if nothing ever happened: only react to / don’t give out anything - “So nice to see you” - But remain a sphinx.

S: Thank you so much. That’s what I needed! You are the woman every woman should be! Love you, thank you.

Yes, I now know better what to do, what advice to give. But did I know that when I was young, much younger? No, I didn’t. I made enemies and friends like a magician with his wand, but one single movement could destroy the skillfully built towers of my relationships. I once drove my little VW cabriolet across a lover’s foot when he had deceived me the same way Sabine’s fellow had done.

But on the other side was always my immense ability to care and love. Now I am free to bid my radical side adieu.

There is such a broad landscape to survey, to observe closely through one’s own prism, to split into as many enchanting colors as one pleases.

Outside, the afternoon is holding its breath. It has not decided what to become. Up above, in the crowns of the trees, a teasing wind is dancing the leaves, holding the skirt of a poplar, then rustling the linden crown, then over to the tassels of a cedar. No rush.

Far away, a car zooms through a canopy of woods. The noise intrudes and makes me feel safe, as if I were in a citadel. I can invite you, too, if you so wish.

The melancholy chirping in the grass rises to a chorus thick with a myriad of shrieks. One could almost lie down upon it, fall into a most devout dream. It is an illusion, like all singsong.

A magpie has made a sloppy nest in a small potted tree. It is down too close to the steps, the cat will get hold of it. Ah, nature, that master of the law.

And then, without any astonishment, the sounds cease to exist. It’s as if a stroke has hit the park. This is the fermenting moment. Some growling from below, a place of no home. An iridescence flickers across a billow of clouds. Dark, tinted, they merge with the mountain blue.

A strong wind rips through. The sound of running feet on wood, to the terrace, to take down the awning. Some hollering, more running feet, down to the pool, to fold the umbrellas, lie them flat so they will not turn into sails.

The treetops are besotted with dance. They beam and bow. Will they hold up? Will they twist? Will they break?

A few warning drops, heavy as lead, and it cuts loose above, with the anger of a dark gray galaxy. It rips downward, as if regretting the previous idyllic day with a vengeance one could not have foreseen.

Witnessing the unexpected drama of a robust reality makes a ghost of the afternoon. What we know is but a reflection in our brain. This is how it will always be. None of it is foreseeable. The farewell is in every gesture.

Say it to your beloved; to your skin, that witness of decades; to the dog, to the milk in the pitcher, to the day. Nothing will ever change.

And yes, Dylan Thomas...

Do not go gently into that good night;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.