Thursday, March 09, 2017

Friday in Lent 1 - 2017


Hay una linea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar,
Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
Hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
Hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo.
Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
Hay alguno que ya nunca abriré.
Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años:
La muerte me desgasta, incesamente.
--Jorge Luis Borges


There's a line of Verlaine's
       that I'm not going to remember again.
There's a nearby street that's forbidden to my footsteps.
There's a mirror that has seen me for the last time.
There's a door I've closed until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I'm looking at them)
There are some I'll never open again.
This summer I'll be fifty years old:
Death invades me, constantly.
We in the West begin Lent with the sign of ashes to remind us we are mortal.  And then, the next day, do we resume our ordinary round of activities, having nodded in the direction of such an ineluctable fact?

By merest chance, an accident when I was fifteen made me aware of my mortality far earlier than happens with most people.  From that moment on, I knew that the next day was never guaranteed.

Mind you, I am not someone who accepts limits gracefully.  While I may not always want everything right now, I do want it all. As an incarnate being, I am given reminders by my body that I have limits. Today is one of those days when I ache in my many spots. Each shoulder in its own way, the span of my back between my shoulders, my lower back, my right leg (the one with sciatica).  Oh, and a headache from late afternoon onward. The skin on my forearms bruises more easily and I now have what I recognize as old man skin.  Although I have long legs and friends used to urge me to slow down my pace, I now find students at the university passing me by briskly as I amble along at a sedate pace more appropriate for septuagenarians.   I have saved money for two years for a trip to Europe this summer and I am acutely aware that, funds being limited, it may be the last trip to Europe.  I want to think otherwise but, realistically, I do not see serious travel funding without raiding my IRA.  You know what these are? First world problems.  I have a home, clothing, transportation, reasonable health, and no food insecurity. I enjoy more comforts and opportunities than most people will ever see.  And, even so, I chafe at limits.

Well, I might was well accept them.  They are not going away.

And I am blessed beyond all telling.


--the BB

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