The glow of the galaxies, during the longest nights of the year up north? Celestial Hanukkah candles perhaps or star of wonder, star of night?
This could be a job for Neil deGrasse Tyson.
I called Anjali, our grand-daughter.
"What is that?"
I wondered if she had been fiddling with some supra-lens, up in some observatory, aiming toward the night skies.
"I was hungry," she explained with a giggle. "I was making some mashed potatoes in the microwave."
She used a glass plate to cover the dish. When she took out the plate, there was condensation on it.
"I went outside and got some leaves and put them on my table. Then I put the plate on top of it."
She usually takes about 15 seconds for a photograph. She points her iphone 5s and knows something will come of it.
No re-takes. She just knows.
"I was just messing around," she said.
So life is not a fountain, as the guru maintained.
Instead, life is a plate of nuked mashed potatoes.
Happy solstice. Happy carbs. Happy comfort food. Happy New Year. Happy mysteries.
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For more photos by Anjali, please see:
More and More, I Talk to the Dead--Margaret Renkl
NASHVILLE — After my mother died so suddenly — laughing at a rerun of “JAG” at 10 p.m., dying of a hemorrhagic stroke by dawn — I dreamed about her night after night. In every dream she was willfully, outrageously alive, unaware of the grief her death had caused. In every dream relief poured through me like a flash flood. Oh, thank God!
Then I would wake into keening grief all over again.
Years earlier, when my father learned he had advanced esophageal cancer, his doctor told him he had perhaps six months to live. He lived far longer than that, though I never thought of it as “living” once I learned how little time he really had. For six months my father was dying, and then he kept dying for two years more. I was still working and raising a family, but running beneath the thin soil of my own life was a river of death. My father’s dying governed my days.
After he died, I wept and kept weeping, but I rarely dreamed about my father the way I would dream about my mother nearly a decade later. Even in the midst of calamitous grief, I understood the difference: My father’s long illness had given me time to work death into the daily patterns of my life. My mother’s sudden death had obliterated any illusion that daily patterns are trustworthy.
Years have passed now, and it’s the ordinariness of grief itself that governs my days. The very air around me thrums with absence. I grieve the beloved high-school teacher I lost the summer after graduation and the beloved college professor who was my friend for more than two decades. I grieve the father I lost nearly 20 years ago and the father-in-law I lost during the pandemic. I grieve the great-grandmother who died my junior year of college and the grandmother who lived until I was deep into my 40s.
Some of those I grieve are people I didn’t even know. How can John Prine be gone? I hear his haunting last song, “I Remember Everything,” and I still can’t quite believe that John Prine is gone.
Jan. 30, 2023