Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spring Mourning 

Mom calls from the car, I think, on her way back from temple. It's my grandfather' yarzeit this weekend -- the Jewish anniversary of his death, usually celebrated by direct descendants with candle and book, there in synagogue, rising into the prayer for the dead with a sprinkling of fellow mourners.

My synagogue lives inside me these days. So do book and candle, I suppose. I've chosen the blogging life in the sticks over standing alone with memory and thought in the crowd of a morning service.

I remember how soft his tan cheek was in the morning, how he smelled of aftershave and pipe tobacco, making eggs for us in his tiny kitchen, white undershirt and khaki pants. I remember his voice, laughing high and hearty; his focused eye in the workshop, the smell of solder, the glow of the television tube.

But I remember them less, each year. And those moments I do remember -- his pipe, his earlobes, his tan shoes -- grow more crystallized, become isoltated from the rest of him, as if a series of close-up snapshots could somehow comprise a being once vibrant and beloved in time and space.

Half a poem came today, before my mother called to remind me of the anniversary of his passage from illness into death. I wanted to bend it towards him after the fact, but our world is so far removed from the one he knew. I couldn't make it fit.

Our neighbors who we have never met
are burning leaves and stormdowned branches
In the yard behind the trees.

The air turns opaque with not-fog.
Smoke covers us. Ashes fall like snow
sparse and grey past the picture window.

Mp3blogger Kwaya Na Kisser has posted the best rainy Saturday mix of downloadable songs ever.

But if you need to cry, you really should be listening to The World Spins Madly On:

Thought of you
And where you’d gone
And the world spins madly on...

And remembering those once here to be loved, lest even their tiniest airborne fragments melt into the air and disappear.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:57 PM |

Thank you for this. I miss my own grandparents at this time of year (my grandmother's yarzheit was a few weeks ago, and in some critical way my grandfather left us when she died, though he held on in body for another eighteen months -- still, Passover reminds me deepy of him, and of that loss) so this post resonated for me.

Zichronam livracha -- may his memory be a blessing.
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