Then and now cycles inexorably towards nowhere.
Yesterday When It is Tomorrow
There's a marketplace in Marrakesh
where sight and sound become a feast.
Woven tapestries abound-- intricate, and layered
with more than just design. Colors
are intense: rainbows pale in comparison.
Voices in a multitude of languages harang
back and forth haggling over prices because
that is half the fun of buying or selling.
There's a cathedral outside of Rome
where stained glass designs
touch your heart and mind
and music soars heart-breakingly beautiful.
There's a meadow outside of Byron, Michigan
where wildflowers dance and the river sparkles--
far outshining any diamond ever mined.
There's a street in Boston steeped in history
from two hundred years ago and yesterday
and you can, if you listen closely,
hear the drum beat and the sounds of marching feet.
There's another street in New Orleans where scents call
of foods and spices and the fact that I can't speak the words
matters not to the language being spoken.
There's an ICU where a handful of babies dream
or scream not understanding a world of tubes and monitors
that bleep heartbeats and count breaths. Where these
beautiful children are missing vital parts and hope
and determination keeps them alive.
There's an alley in Harlem where I saw three children
play with their imaginations and their smiles
dazzled against raging graffiti, and their laughter
rivaled the chords in the cathedral.
There's a beach in Normandy where grains of sand
mimic drops of blood, in numbers uncountable
and yet the waves still crash and the tides still come in.
There's a nun in Alirajpur who scrounges the trash to eat
and then shares it with an old man who cannot hear
and his wife who no longer can see. They laugh together
and bless the fact they've something to eat.
There's a child asleep in a bed in Miami who shares
her sheet with the cockroaches her mother tries so hard
to keep at bay, but in their overwhelming numbers
can't be swept away. Twelve blocks over, the fussy doorman
discretely squashes one under the shiny toe of his boot
before opening the door to the ninety-year-old lady
with a tea-cup poodle in her Coach bag, who wears vintage Pucci
and Windsong perfume as she returns from the park, alone. Again.
There's a man sitting at his kitchen table, fingernails black,
taking the first sip of his after-work beer. He's exhausted, at seventy,
from working seven months of ten-hour days humping steel,
welding parts, bending metal. And yet, he's proud because
he works rings around the twenty-something kids. He finishes
his beer and heads out to mow the lawn. He stoops to pet the dog
who runs outside with him; it is time to play.
The sun sets over the iridescent blue waters and the people stop
to take it in, daily, appreciating the changing skies, the streaks
of cinnamon and amber. It could be Hawaii or the West Coast of Ireland,
perhaps Chile or Mauritania - it doesn't matter where,
just that the sun is seen, that the breath is taken, that night comes
as will tomorrow. The moon rises over the desert, casting sand
in silver filigree. The monsoon comes, watering the parched:
flowers bloom as if overnight creating a canvass of unparalleled color.
A wind comes up as clouds table over and the sky goes green. A lightning
strike match to tinder and the mountain burns. A sequoia seed, long-dormant,
bursts into life and a seedling grows. Lava spews forth venting out, releasing
pressure. Hitting the water with venomous hissing, the monster claws
and cools and the island grows. Tides wash over newborn turtles
as they fling themselves into the ocean. Migrating humpbacks cavort
in timeless dances. A monarch feasts upon milkweed before laying eggs
it flew two thousand miles to lay. Salmon fight their way through raging rivers
and a walking stick inches its way into the sun. Cycles rinse and repeat.
Years tumble by in a heartbeat, and a child sings songs of her ancestors.
An archeologist unearths an eons-old village, gleaning long-sought truths
from latrines and fire pits. Bits and pieces of long-ago lives. Not so different
from here and now: people going about their lives, scrambling to eke out
their existence, to survive, to multiply, to find their meaning in life.
Weaponry and shattered bones speak across the millennium
telling of wars fought, of battles waged to overtake or keep a way of life
familiar and safe. DNA tests reveal the intermingling when the dusts settled
into the mud of the mundane and new generations breached.
Minds created the new, the as-yet untested, the simpler or more complex,
and life adjusted or failed or was swept into the forgotten. Histories
were kept by mouth or tale, by deeds gouged into rock or inked
upon a page, of corrections and mistranslations as the past was reiterated
to suit the strong. The songs echoed across vast distances and yet
disparate cultures shared similar beginnings. Gods rose and fell
as did empires. Nothing static except change.
A person plucked from various thens might not share the ways and means
of the day-to-day, but home, hearth, loyalty, and love would still, and ever,
be consistent. Viewpoints change over eons and moments; each in its way to
challenge and protect, to move forward into a better tomorrow even though
down the line, the sand-drawn lines will change again and again and again.
There is no end point while people yet survive and the cockroaches wait.
Mountains erode to sand, sand is fired into glass, and the glass shatters.
The tallest tree falls to the termite and the sun will, one day, expand
burning everything to ash. What then will the answers be to eternal questions?
Will we have charted our stars and crossed the heavens to try again
or will we fade into oblivion, taking our petty disagreements and our failure with us?
Will our exceptional and glorious achievements be a blueprint for the future
or will some future race relegate all we do to the foibles of unschooled children
who clearly knew no better?
And I wonder if we, as a race, as people of the whole, as humankind can be kind
enough to ever see the big picture, the timeless etchings of a race toward more?
Or if our dinosaur ways are self-defeating and we will, indeed, be our own destruction.
Nay, not in our lifetime nor that of our grandchildren's many-times-great grandchildren,
but in time. When we are long but dust, forgotten in the grand scheme of things,
when all of our histories become bleached, so faded that they are indistinguishable--
fairy tales, perhaps, that no one actually believes there were any truths behind them,
and the world has spun out on its axis and some future beings shake their heads,
rolls their numerous eyes, and wends about their way, munching down on our yesterdays.