Sunday, October 08, 2006

not enough sleep

One of the problems with writing a personal but public blog is that while one is certainly free to write about one's own life as thoroughly or as superficially as desired, that life is never truly one's own. And those whose paths are inextricably entwined with ours are entitled to the privacy that used to be the societal norm, before the days of internet confession and reality television encouraged everyone to believe that their every waking moment had to be lived out loud in the public square. As if everyone had a right to know. As if everyone cared.

In the past few days things have not been going well for my little mother, and I find my concerns for her too raw, too difficult to put down here in this, my flimsy little conceit of a journal. I cannot forget that these pages are accessible to all, equally to those of good or ill will, and that while I have the right to expose myself to any sort of scrutiny I wish, I cannot assume that right for anyone else.

But I've been reading A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett, a reliably breezy, occasionally reflective and always snappily narrated tale of adventure in the Caribbean, and I came across a passage (very) late last night that gave me pause and odd comfort. In it, Cleopatra Highbourne, the 101 year-old captain of the 142 foot Lucretia muses at the end of her long, adventurous life:

"Tully, this is not the same city I knew as a teenager, when my father and I raced from Martinique. Hell, there were rapids on the river not far from where we sit. Miami was just a trading post then, where the Seminoles would bring their fish, fur, and gator hides down to the market. Tully, I am damn near as old as this city. Age is like an opium dream. I'm not quite sure what is real and what is not anymore. I find myself rambling more, and I think I talk to as many ghosts as humans."

It is that kind of wisdom that I already miss.

My mother has never sailed or been to Martinique. But her life was full of hope, wisdom and beauty, and her reality these days has the fluid quality of those opium dreams, seeming to weave effortlessly back and forth between the world I know to be true and another which I cannot or will not see. There is some solace in knowing that such dreams are universal and timeless.

Mom has always been a stubborn and resilient woman. And although I need her to continue to be, I acknowledge that her own needs may be otherwise, and greater. I know it isn't my call. Right now, I have a feeling it's hers. And right now, I have a feeling I'm 1346 miles from where I should be

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Posting from Houston for a quickie fly-by while my little Mom catches some zzz's. She insists she isn't tired and wants to go shopping but then nods off somewhere between the 'shop' and the '-ping'. It's what happens in your 90's - the spirit is willing but the flesh really just wants a nap.

So I just dropped in to say hey, and if I haven't been around it's because these have been some alternately hectic and hazy days. Not unlike my youth, come to think of it, drugs and all - only now in Mom's case they call it 'assisted living'. I think I always did. Anyway, Mom and I are fixin' to blow this popsicle stand any second now. Six-thirty curfew be damned.

Catch you later. Or as we say in Texas, ciao! Y'all.