26 July 2008

Another day

Life just keeps rolling on and on, like a boulder down a canyon, intersecting with everything along its path, gathering bits of stuff -- moss, mud, mashed bits of lichen, algae and dropping it again along the way (a rolling stone can gather a little moss, is what I've concluded in my own experience), and perhaps splitting off into pieces but always eventually finding its own place to come to a rest. Until some new boulder comes crashing down from a rocky crevice, and on and on it goes.

It's quite a time. Many of my relatives are having rough lives. Chronic disease and pain; restlessness; spiritual malaise -- all of these affect them in varying measures. My father is looking for a place to move, which suggests some kind of discontent, maybe one too many neighbors alienated somehow, maybe fights picked over perceived wrongs or a desire to infuse new life into a stale home routine (or maybe I'm just projecting all that and they just want to live near the beach, like so many other rich gringos). My uncle is out there doing his cha-cha-cha with chaos. I have an aunt whom I think of as trying to do the work of two humans, one of them herself and the other forever sitting in judgment yet missing in action.

My dad is struggling in his way, but seeing the light of hope a bit, too. My mom and others I know struggle to make out that light at times but always get help stoking that flame if it flickers and dims too much. They have good survival instincts, as we must if we are to tell each other our tales around that campfire again at the end of the day.

I hope it's not horrible to say that it all makes me feel extraordinarily lucky that I can enjoy good health and comfortable shelter. We didn't buy the fancy new mansion nor rush to the big-box stores the way some people did over the last decade. Nor were we doing work that turned out to be extraordinarily remunerative, as did some of our friends. We live modestly but comfortably. We're driving around in what is now a beater of a car, but we're pretty sure that doesn't really matter much in the scheme of things. Someday we'll be able to afford a newer, nicer one with a cleaner engine, but we're still able to get around fine in this one. But I don't know how I would survive the pulverizing, frantic worries about money and being able to afford the basics or the question of whether I could get to the store this week. I would, of course; people like my parents survive these obstacles continuously, I see now. Sometimes their fingernails are in shreds at the ends of the days, from all the hanging on, but they're still in it every day, which every day is in its turn a gift to me and my daughter and my family.

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