In Spite Of It All

 “Painting Galveston Bay” An edited photograph of Galveston Bay designed to resemble a painting. Image created by Alan S. Garrett.

“Painting Galveston Bay” An edited photograph of Galveston Bay designed to resemble a painting. Image created by Alan S. Garrett.

 (Written during the early morning hours of September 27th, 2018.)

Through the screen of the open window, out there, somewhere in the night, the sounds of feral hogs feeding and fighting occasionally shatters an otherwise peaceful sleep. The temperatures have fallen into the fifties. It’s a good night to sleep with a window open. Rains have left the air moist. It’s the kind of air I want to breath after so many days of breathing a polluted smelling air that is only noticeable after such rains fall and I am reminded of what cleaner air smells and breaths like. The air isn’t quite the quality one might find back in some cove on Prince William Sound in Alaska, but closer to it than the smoke-filled, dry, hot air that exists on certain days in this part of central North Texas.

I’ve grown tired of this wheel that’s either stuck in the mud or spinning around with its axle high centered, turning round and round while getting nowhere. It’s been a month of tragedies. One in particular that I don’t know that I’ll ever understand. Sometimes it’s as though I’ve been exposed to a whole new level of ignorance about the world. I guess there are some aspects to living that you can’t do a damn thing about no matter how hard you try.

There are moments when all the funerals I’ve attended just kind of collide into a numbness that leaves me feeling a little less human. It’s like watching lives become statistics and I hate it. I always want to remember the living, breathing, loving, bundles of emotions and experiences that I knew the living to be. Loss never gets easier, I don’t care what others say. 

Another return to East Texas, another funeral. A brief stay upon lands that have been in the family since before Texas was a state. Stories told, memories shared, smartphones left mostly unchecked as conversations and good memories defeated technology’s war for our attention. For the hours family were together, grief and anger were kept distracted by stories rooted in good memories. For a moment in time, the numbness was distracted, too.

There are times when I wish this broken brain of mine would function just long enough to find a way to heal the madness that can be life among the human species. It’s a kind of madness that builds until something gives and  change is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity. Still the wheel continues to turn moving life forward — despite the setbacks.

I’ve been rather negligent in my posts this month. There have been weeks when I thought I would discontinue them altogether. Box up the website, archive the data (both published and unpublished), forget this dream altogether and seek another, or maybe seek nothing more at all. I’ve written so little and what little there is seems more deserving of the delete key than further editing. But to let it all fall apart would just add to the tragedy.

Life can be tragic at times, the darkness as challenging to navigate as the blinding light. We are born, we die, and somewhere in between we try to derive some kind of sense or purpose in it all. Where we came from, where we should be headed, whether the now is as it should be, these questions plague us all at some point.

Learn from the past, plan for a future, accept neither will always be an ultimate known. Try your best to love every single moment however little or much you can. Find hope, create change, if even in the minutest of ways. Listen to constructive criticism, but deny destructive criticism a voice, except when listening to it means helping.

Choose to pull the wheel out of the mud, pry the vehicle’s axle off of what ever has its wheels spinning in the air. Inspire forward movement. Turning your life around by turning another’s life around, that’s how the wheel is supposed to function.

It won’t be long before the sun rises on this crisp September morning. Three hours have passed since I began writing this. It’s difficult to hold back the tears and I realize the foolishness of even attempting to do so. “Tears are a part of grief, let them flow, you are supposed to feel that way,” I tell myself.

Whether we are waving goodbye from behind the window of an airport terminal, or from a window seat on a plane that is lifting off into the sky, we are all connected even when apart. May the aircraft never run out of fuel, may the wheel continue to turn upon solid ground, and may all of our hopes and dreams come true, in spite of it all.

 

Thank you for reading,

Alan