I had my first true spiritual experience when I was twelve. I knew abruptly and irrevocably that
some day I would die. And I would be dead forever, drifting in some cold dark outer space, absolutely alone and naked. I was haunted by that awareness for decades. How I learned to live with it is a much longer story than this post. Read my books for clues.
August 4 last year, I lay as close to death as I’ve ever been. As I’ve written, there was no glowing comfy after-life. However, in the months since the collapse, I seem to be finding new ways to think about myself, my work – and the no less chilling prospect of my death. I recently encountered and signed up for the app, WeCroak
Check it out. You’ll understand why it is now on my phone. It might be of value to those of you who keep themselves so busy and/or drugged (Not pointing any fingers here. I’m in that club.) that you pretend you have forever to write. Have fun.
As synchronicity would have it, two of you sent in writing that not only is gorgeous, but fits beautifully with the theme of croaking.
Going Ballistic – by Lynette Sheppard
15 minutes, more or less. That’s how long I have left to live. The emergency alert sounded its harsh tones and informed me that a ballistic missile was inbound to Hawaii. “This is not a drill,” the message concluded.
The phone rings and my husband is on the line, calling from the remote beach where he is photographing a community cleanup effort.
“I can’t get home in time. I love you — see you in heaven.”
I look outside, where the sun still shines, ocean waves lap at the distant shoreline, birds flit from tree to tree, and a breeze ruffles the palm fronds in the garden.
There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do, just wait. I’m old enough to remember “duck and cover” and hiding under a schoolroom desk. I’m savvy enough to know those measures are useless in case of nuclear attack.
I turn on the television where basketball players and political pundits are conducting business as usual. I surf the net, looking for info. Nothing. Could this be a hoax? A hacker? A mistake?
My husband calls again, breathless. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has tweeted that she has official confirmation there is no missile headed to Hawaii.
38 minutes or maybe a few years pass after the first emergency alert. My phone rasps again. “There is no missile threat or danger to the state of Hawaii. Repeat. False alarm.”
I take my first deep breath of the morning. Now what? Having been granted a reprieve, what do I do now?
I deconstruct the Christmas tree. I carefully wrap glass and shell ornaments in tissue paper. I untangle mini lights and stuff the strands into ziplock bags. I bury my face in my cat’s fur. I try to control my shaky hands.
I collect laundry from the clothesline, fold it and place it into the correct drawers. I make and eat a piece of toast.
Then I sit down to write, feeling my way forward, knowing that this was a dress rehearsal and the danger is not over. Not by a long shot.
And, from Cin Norris
Do you remember the “Magic Eye” posters that were so big in the 90’s?
“It’s a rabbit and some flowers, of course,” my friend would say after glancing at it. I thought she was full of shit. It was a bunch of wavy lines and dots of color. It was probably a hoax, but it was certainly a headache waiting to happen.
I’d get right up to and challenge the picture to show itself or I’d try flicking my gaze on and away, trying to trick the visual noise into revealing its secrets. I became frustrated and would ignore it for days, but knowing—or at least suspecting—that there might be a rabbit in there kept me coming back.
“Stop trying so hard,” my friend said. “If you’d relax, you’d see it.”
Still suspecting she was full of shit I relaxed, allowing my eyes to lose their focus. The picture blurred but I struggled to stay with it, to not grasp at the image but let it materialize on its own.
“Holy Christ,” I breathed, trying to stay calm. A rabbit and two flowers.
It is that moment, when I stop trying to write and start telling a story that the important things snap into focus and the rest blurs away. It’s taking a half step into another reality and concentrating on the space between ‘here’ and ‘there’– that is where you will find what you have been looking for.