My wonderful friend, Landscape Guy, came over tonight and helped me do the final chore that I needed to do to ready everything on my Bit of Earth for Hurricane Sandy. And, then, we sat out on the porch one last time this Summer and drank the 2000 Ravenswood Merlot. Heck, if I’m going to experience Death by Tree (maybe my most preferred form of death), I might as well only leave the one v good bottle of champagne for my wake.
We talked, Landscape Guy and I, about where we’d like our ashes scattered, and I’ll move heaven and Earth to get his to a swamp, that most liminal of spaces.
I mentioned to Landscape Guy that this poem is in my will, to be read at my funeral.
What do you want them to say about you when you go??
When Death Comes
~ Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
I don’t mean to sound melodramatic.
But you can’t face a storm such as this one is predicted to be and not, at least a bit, consider trees falling upon you in your sleep. Beloved trees, I’ve done what I needed to do, won a legal battle or two, and seen more beauty than I had a right to expect. A few people of high honor loved me for no reason that I could understand and I got to do magic that only Mother Earth would have allowed. I smelled the pine scent of Muir Woods from miles away, I saw the singing towers at Longwood Gardens, and I did deep magic among some asters with a Druid of the old blood. And I lived to whisper “Namaste” to one of our ancient kin, an Old-Eyed-Soul of Fairie, he for whom I learned the Faeth Fiada, a true and surprising sprout of pure Elvish here in the NEW WORLD.
And so, while I’d like for this storm to pass over Columbia’s District, I’m also honored to sit here, on my rock, with this storm that has been waiting for hundreds of years to visit my Bit of Earth.
I am Hecate, the Witch of this Place.
Sandy, I bid you welcome.
Picture found here.