Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This Too Is the Journey

And so it goes, or rather comes and goes.  Much of my time in the last while has been spent with a friend (in her eighties), who is sometimes panicking as her formerly active lifestyle undergoes a seachange and occasionally seems to be vanishing like smoke.

An artist by birth and by calling, my friend is a wild, fierce and goddessy woman with a sharp tongue, a passionate regard for art, travel, poetry, mythology, photography and just plain old watching the world go by.  Now, she is losing her eyesight, her physical equilibrium, her ability to paddle a kayak or drive a motorcycle (a Harley-Davidson Night Rod no less), to pilot an aircraft or simply (as she puts it) go places and do interesting stuff.  It hurts, and there are times when she is frightened, but she is a warrior, and she is working things out.

The lady rocks, and she has always been a mentor and an inspiration. We used to go off on photography expeditions together, climb bluffs and wave our canoe paddles around with abandon.  My own deadlines slip away now, meals are forgotten or charred beyond recognition, television documentaries are missed when she calls, and I roar off to see her, take her hand for a while, tell her stories about my mundane and not-so-mundane potterings, laugh together and rummage through her music collection for a little Mozart, Vivaldi, Miles Davis or Bonnie Raitt.  We probably don't have much time left to journey on together, and I want to be there when she needs me.

"I remember everything", she says, "and behind my eyelids, the colors of the world are dancing like bokeh, like sunlight on the water, summer fireflies or tumbling snowflakes".  In these sweet, poignant and fleeting days, I seldom think of my own health issues except when I must, or when, like a vigilant Zen priest with a Kyosaku stick, a certain one gives me a sharp physical reminder of its presence - something the crab is very good at doing. It too is a right fine teacher.

8 comments:

Prairie Star said...

Thinking of you on this Tuesday morning . . .

and your friend . . .

and sending love.

Big hugs, too,

Tabor said...

She lived such a rich and full life and did far more than many of us, I am sure it is much harder for her to slow down and give in to her body.

Kameshwari said...

What!!! You have a friend in her eighties that knows how to slam the gear box of an HD Night Rod? Oh, this is rich. I suspect she was riding long before Harley Davidson came out with the new V-Rod configuration and knows more about Knuckleheads and Panheads than most riders. Oh, and she has to know the slippery organic feel of fifty-weight oil and the smell of the oil when it drips to the ground, warm like honey.

My apology if my post seems insensitive. I consider women riders to be a unique breed of sisterhood and I want to support and encourage you to continue your visits with her. She is a living documentary. Don't miss a moment of the one in front of you.

Mystic Meandering said...

And she is also richer to have a friend like you to be there for her... Love the photo! Hanging on and letting go... Poignant.

Rain Trueax said...

It is what we all face but it won't make it easier when we get there. It's not death that is so much feared by many of us, it's loss of faculties. It is though part of the life cycle and we just have to accept that-- 'this too is the journey.'

Dawn Z said...

Beauty.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

What a blessing you are to this special friend.
Understand much you are sharing as
I am on a journey that is much different then a few years ago.
May we each accept life as it continues...

Kiki said...

oh gosh - this post is wonderful and the pixie underlines your thoughts so beautifully.... What a life and what a friend - you are to each other (even if you don't ride a motorbike!).... I make similar experiences (not the motorbike riding mind you but the utterly rich life she lived and the sadness of seeing her getting 'out of breath', being blind, trying hard to keep a happy attitude and at the same time being ready to leave this earthly place!