Hello again from the Big Blue!
Recipe for Feeling Small:
50 mile wide, ominous cloud
25 Knot wind
8 Billion gallons of rain
100 Megawatt lightening strikes
1 Tin roof
Mix ingredients, lie in bed, and be amazed.
Don’t you just love thunderstorms? I remember one night back in Nelson we sat upstairs at the Ripsters, turned out all the lights, and watched a dazzling thunderstorm through the large picture windows. Yet, as full of Boom and Bang as mountain storms are, nothing quite beats a tropical deluge.
Last night a big crasher landed on top of us. Part of the joy of tropical storms is the thin wall separating you from the elements. Our windows and doors are always open, so you get the full scope of the sound and fury in Dolby quality. And, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, you also get a cool misting from the rain. But the best part is that tin roof of ours, the one that feels as if it could shake right off with every thunderclap or be pounded clear through by rain drops the size of small house pets. Exhilarating!
Encounters of this magnitude with Momma Nature always send me into a vortex of self reflection. Last night I was thinking about death. Not in any morbid way, just pondering the inevitable. It is inevitable, isn’t it?
I’ve never really considered my own end, partly because it always seemed so far away. Now, however, as I scooter my way toward the Big Four-Oh, (July 2009…I have still one year left as an official Cougar), the signpost for Endsville is no longer an abstract idea, it is a tangible object.
I am nearly forty, and last night one thought kept rolling through my brain as I watched the palm trees backlit by lightening: there is no going back. I think one of life’s many ironies is that by the time we start to actually figure some stuff out, by the time we start becoming genuinely interesting people with worthy ideas, suddenly we’re also in a race against the clock. I’m pretty happy at thirty-eight and three-quarters; I could sit here a spell. I’m not as buff or tough as I was in my twenties, true, but I’m not as arrogant or shallow, either. My looks are still passable enough to get me ID’d at liquor stores at least once a year, and men still, occasionally, make lewd comments as I walk by, (Note to young girls: this won’t bother you as much as you get older). My brain is sharp enough to finish a crossword puzzle in a decent amount of time but now it’s also wide enough to accept other puzzles with less definite solutions. Yep, I like me right where I am.
But I woke up this morning a day older. There is no going back.
I don’t want to die but I’m not afraid of it. At some point oxygen will no longer make it to my brain, the lights will go out, and consciousness will vanish. Everything I’ve ever experienced and, more interestingly, every thought that’s ever drifted through my crazy cranium, will also vanish. I will be but a shell of a Princess.
There are numerous theories about what happens to us after we die. I don’t believe any of them, though I acknowledge that the ‘verse is a mysterious place and anything is possible. The way I see it, everything is matter, and eventually the shell we leave behind will break down and convert to another type of matter – ashes to ashes, dust to dust, yadda yadda yadda. Perhaps, in last night’s thunderstorm, if there were a way to trace such things, I might have found the molecules of Leonardo Da Vinci, or my old hamster, or even the first humans to walk this earth.
Prez likes to remind me that humans are largely made up of water and those water molecules return to the atmosphere once we die. He likes to remind me of this while I’m drinking a glass of water. I drink dead people.
As for consciousness, some would call it our “soul”, that is a puzzle with no hints, and no answers at the back of the book. I prefer to leave it as one last surprise though I must admit last night I had an image of my consciousness being sucked into a cyclone and melting into the universe. That was trippy. (I think my iron level may be getting low again).
Everyone has their own way of looking at death, of dealing with it. For many, insulation is the key. Stay safe, close the windows, lock the doors, sound proof the roof. If you can’t hear it, feel it, see it, smell it, or touch it, it can’t hurt you. Nothing works though. Death comes to everyone and what you thought was safety turns out to be your prison. Sure you stayed dry, but you never heard the thunder or felt the wind.
I plan to live long enough to be a cranky old lady, with too many cats, who drinks martinis in the afternoon, and bores the neighbourhood kids with stories of how cool she once was. But when I’m gone, I hope they say of me, “She always loved a good storm.”
QUESTION: Do you think about it?
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
p.s. Speaking of elements, our good pal the Ripster is in Nepal preparing to climb Everest. Of course, first he has to get over the mountain of red tape the Chinese government has put in front of him. (Don’t get me started on the Chinese government). From Nelson Base Camp, his wife, “Beckster” keeps everyone up to date with dispatches on the Peak Freak’s website. This year, the theme is “Green”. Very cool. Anyway, you can follow Ripster and his team on their amazing journey here. GO PEAKS!!
p.p.s – My man chartered his guests onto a nice, juicy Dorado/Mahi Mahi. Cats and humans alike were jubilant at the prospect of fresh fish!
Cat on a hot tin roof…