Friday, June 29, 2007

Before She Sleeps...

As she dozed on the crowded city bus, draped on the bench atop her plastic bags, mismatched luggage - everything she owned carried with her - I snapped her picture with my cell phone. Trying not to stare her awake, I looked away. Her imprint in my mind was indellable - a Pieta. The Bag-lady crucified, Christ of my commute that day. The blue vinyl bus seat seemed to be holding her like the Blessed Mother. Something about her made me think of peace.

She must have been a regular on the route, for when the driver braked, he indicated it was her stop and asked that her fellow passengers wake her. No one moved, though everyone heard, and since I knew their paralysis was unique to Minnesota and incurable, I stood up. Shaking her shoulder and saying, "Excuse me, Ma'am?" in a clear gentle voice, I tried to rouse her. Her face was paper thin and paper white. Complicated lines of weather and time flashed a sweet smile as her dream ended and her moist eyes blinked open. I explained we had arrived at her stop and helped her gather her life's luggage and disembark.

Though years ago she haunts me still. Did I do a good thing by helping her get where she was going? Or was my action an assault? A rude interruption of the temporary peace her passing dream-time had provided? Just a moment's reverie in a life I doubt she'd ever dreamed would be hers. Sleep sweetly, sister. May you be cradled in dreams without trouble, want or pain.

THE BEST OF the epistle #1. Fear - Original Post April 10 2006


In 1818 Mary Shelley unleashed FRANKENSTEIN, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS on the literary world. This Gothic cautionary tale warned of an Industrial Revolution spinning out of control. Man, mad with arrogance, dared to enter the realm of God - the creation of human life! Victor von Frankenstein cobbled together pieces and parts (now pieces is pieces, but parts is parts) of discarded human remains to construct his monster. I've always thought he was particularly lucky to have found body parts of similarly sized men. Had he used Shaquille O'Neal's left leg and my right the poor monster would have just spun counter-clockwise when it tried to move forward.

But I digress, my point was that Ms. Shelley warned of the horror of patchwork living creatures at a time when harvesting the DEAD to save the LIVING was a dread thought. Today, we can participate in a process thought noble and compassionate by simply indicating our willingness to be "harvested" on the back of our Drivers' License. In the last 60 years, medicine has saved countless lives by attaching pieces and parts from the dead (soooo pig! sometimes even from the dead of other species) to the sick and dying. Medical ethicists, philosophers and theologians struggled with early transplants - thinking them "a step too far" and evidence of Man's arrogant attempt to usurp God's power. Luckily, those arguments abated and settled themselves as the lives saved bore evidence of God's will for Medicine.

They have resurfaced, however, as we have begun to master the Human Genome and all of the potential industries that might flow from the application of our new Knowledge. Stem cells and genes are just smaller pieces and parts, really. We are only just glimpsing the "blueprint" of human life - yet already the ethicists, philosophers and theologians have begun their emotional moral hand-wringing. Have we, at last, gone "too far?" Will God smite us for our prideful folly? Is there no end to Man's Curiosity and the lengths to which he will go to apply cutting-edge Knowledge to improve all of our lives?

I hope not.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Many Good Days Go By - Let The Water Hold Me Down

Same As It Ever Was...

Since beginning to reconnect with High School friends I haven't seen for 20 odd (very odd, trust me) years it continues to surprise me how other people's lives make me feel a lot older than mine does all by itself. Maybe that's why I've stayed hidden away in the frozen North for 14 years - on ice (like Elizabeth Taylor or Nancy Reagan) fighting the passing of years. If only I'd fought the intake of calories with equal ferocity.

Oh well, two month's until the Reunion - plenty of time to get skinny? Yikes! Jinkies! And Zoinks!

Friday, June 01, 2007


I have loved Maggie, Terre and Suzzie Roche for 30 years. Their latest album - the first collaberation of all three sisters in ten years - is everything a Roche fan could dream of. Read my review (as caesersghost) on iTunes.

Buy this CD.