9-19-13 The prompt: “Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon.” Henry David Thoreau
The hillside lay cool under the weight of my body. I wasn’t too concerned about crushing the blades of grass, but the thought did enter my mind that they may be uncomfortable. My stare was out across the valley and over the hills opposite. Beyond the green hills were bluer peaks far off in the distance. I suspected that they were in another county, and that I would never see them again or climb them. The hill I lay upon was world enough. A hawk soared across my view, wheeling about as it sought dinner in the high grass and brush below me.
My purpose here was to stop being purposeful. I had had enough, and the world was something I was about to leave behind. The location had been chosen months before, recovered from a memory of love and early passion. For me, life had begun here, and it was fitting that this would be the last sight.
I had no tears for the position I was in. It was life that had brought me here, and life flowing through me that kept me still and aware.
I’m not dead yet, and every second is as precious as the one before and the one after. This was just the tapering off of all the wild expressions of self that had filled the last ninety years. I have all my teeth, my eyes work well so far, and the body pressed against the ground has served me well. Surrendering it at the end of my hitch just seems logical.
In the later part of my life, I had the experience of being taught about death. Not directly, but from folks I knew who had a young daughter who couldn’t live any longer. Her spirit was willing. The body refused. There was no fear in her life. She hadn’t developed that at her age. There also wasn’t fear in her parents. Regret, maybe, but no fear. “It’s like stepping behind a curtain,” they said. “You can still hear us, and we can hear you. We know you’re there; we just can’t see you. And one day, we’ll come back around the curtain and be with you forever.”
I remembered that deep down in my core for all of my life. The grace of the gesture was the deepest of gifts. And here, now, I was about to step behind that curtain and be reunited with all who had gone before.
I was grateful that I had kept quiet and still. No hysteria would be welcome here, and the world would keep on spinning as I turned the corner. I was aware of the consequences of sharing. It would surely lead toward beeping instruments and bright lights, fussing bodies and stark smelling spaces. No, surely silence is golden.
The hawk sailed across my view once again, still searching for something to make it happy. A slight breeze picked up, and a blade of grass blew against my ear. It didn’t tickle. It comforted and cradled. I breathed in the scent of the valley blowing up the hill from far down below. The scent was a deep green, and mixed with the blue and white of the sky. The colors swirled in the breeze.
I felt the breath flow into my body, and out again. I had the strength and foresight to turn my head slightly to the right, and was not surprised to see my love lying beside me, gazing into my eyes, and then up into the sky to follow the hawk. My hand was filled with the warmth of her touch. I smiled, closed my eyes, and slept forever.