Sunday, October 4, 2009

From dust we came, to dust we shall return.

We took the ferry across Puget Sound yesterday
from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, to my sister's
house in Poulsbo, for a family party in honor
of my 82-year-old uncle and aunt visiting from Boston.
I wonder what it felt like to him, my father's only
brother, to see this large gathering of relatives
who exist because of his brother, who died 43 years
ago. I don't really know my uncle, having grown up
3,000 miles from him. Nonetheless, he's been, for
the most part, the only connection I've had to my
paternal roots. And it's strange to think that there's
a good likelihood I'll never see him again.

Pondering the river that is life, its depths and shallows,
currents and eddies. The waters of Puget Sound were
an intense steel blue, choppy in October wind -- one of those
Pacific Northwest days where the smog has been swept eastward,
and everything seems to glow from within.
A landscape of gemstones: sapphires, rubies, emeralds.


And later today, with a different family group, we'll gather
to scatter ashes in Thornton Creek, and then rose petals.
And these words, from Raymond Carver:

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.

And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


  1. Those are lovely words.

    I know what you mean about wondering if you will ever see people again - especially our elders. We're approaching the one-year anniversary of my father's death and ever since it happened, I have been mindful of this very thing every time I'm in the presence of someone in an older bracket. (It also makes you look at your own age in a whole new light.)

  2. This was an occasion of love and beauty.

    Love, C.

  3. I had similar thoughts over last weekend when my father turned 81. Its almost attempting to prepare oneself for an on-coming period of great sorrow when of course that kind of planning isn't natural or healthy. Lovely piece by Carver.

    In 2005 I took that ferry to Bainbridge. A great trip across the sound. We were on our way to Olympic National Park.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. It reads like poetry in its entirety - and I do like the lines at the end very much.

  5. Carver sums it up perfectly. That's it in a nutshell.