Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sound of One Tree Clapping in the Theater of Time

What is that, I wondered as I saw this picture for the first time?

I had seen nothing there along the creek when I took it. I was just snapping a bit of icy shore line and the geese beyond.

I noticed "Golden Boy" standing there when I uploaded from camera to computer.

Was it a sculpture?

We have here in my state a renowned sculptor named Charles Parks. It is an apt name for many of his works adorn our public parks around here.

It would not be unusual at all when walking about from here to there to come across one of his pieces.

But I never saw one done in gold or shiny brass.

The subject appears to be holding something. At first I thought of a Native American holding a bow. Then I thought it might be a fisherman, a real living, breathing fisherman, but would he be in such a gaudy suit? Not likely, but a monument to fishermen would not be inappropriate along the Brandywine; however, this seemed a strangely isolated spot to put it.

Maybe I was having an angelic vision? Gee, I hope it wasn't the Angel of Death.

You know we are the only creatures who consider the Angel of Death. Whatever other animals are lurking in nests and burrows about me in this woods aren't thinking about death. They don't consider time either. For those animals it is just now, this moment. God invented time just for us. I think we were made to be aware of the shortness of our earthly life. Some people may say they only live for the now, but I don't believe them. We all ponder beyond now.

It is just for us, as I say, because where animals are always in the present, God and the Angels are in Eternity where there is no time and it is always only now, and we people are in betwixt wondering about tomorrow.

See that split in the trail. I am wondering which direction to go. I am going to go left. I don't know what is down to the left, but I went right last time here and I know what is that way. Something else I know. I am alone on this trail. No one is with me and as it is, no one else is walking this woods this morning. It gets me thinking about being alone.

Just the other night, I was walking by myself
And I was talking to myself
And thus I lost my way.

I was alone and it began to rain.
I was alone and down it came.
I could hear the howling of a mourning dog.
I stood in the rain
And I searched throughout my brain
Until everything became clear.

That is the beginning of a poem I wrote when I was just turned 16. It was called, "When I Was Alone". I wrote parodies and funny poems as a kid, but I wrote a lot on the subjects of death, age and loneliness. 

Maybe I was in a lonely state of mind when I wrote it.

I stood wet and red,
Shoe-deep in a mud bed,
And I thought the thoughts.

There I was alone, with no one to call.
There I was alone, with no one to hold.
It was somehow those things were gone
That belonged to me.

It can’t go on.

My family had moved from my hometown to a house in the country when I was fifteen. I had to leave my few good friends behind and now I was in a new school. My grandfather, who had always been closer to me than my actual dad, had died just before I turned sixteen. 

Now here I was doing what I have done so much throughout my life, walking alone in lonely places, making decisions on how to go deeper into further away. Now I choose the right path in the photo above and step into what seems a haunted world of twisted branches and vines.

There’s a darkness in my sky
And the sun’s nowhere in flight.
It might rain all day
And I may rain all night.

I shouted out very loud
For it not to go away.


I looked back up to the sky,
And of course, it had turned gray,
And at the end of that day
I went back home

When I was by myself,
Sitting with the dust of the window shelf,
I decided nowhere on Earth
Was there a crowded place for me.

The thing is, that last part is not altogether true. the part where it says, "And at the end of that day/

I went back home/ Alone."

I have never went back home alone. Well, I need to clarify, I most certainly have come home alone just as I will come home alone from this walk alone, but I won't come back to a home where I live alone.

And now I think those thoughts that other animals don't think and I contemplate time and loneliness.

You see, I have never lived alone; never in my seventy years. When I was born I lived briefly with my parents and then with my parents and my maternal grandparents. When my daddy went to war, I continued to lived with my mom and her parents. When he came home I lived with my parents, mostly my mother for dad was away a lot. Then with my parents and my grandparents again. Then with my parents. Then my grandfather died and I lived with my parents and my grandmother. Then when I turned age 20 I married and I have lived with my wife, and sometimes also with our children, for the last fifty years.

Seventy is a long time in human years.

And I always came home to a house where someone else lived and I have never lived alone.

I wonder what that is like?

I wonder if someday I will know?

Whatever animals are in their hide-y-holes as I climb this trail, they may be peeking out at me to see if I am a risk or perhaps a source of food, but they are not hiding there thinking about being alone.

I am thinking about it because it is a possibility. Becoming alone is a reality of growing old. It has to cross your mind. The sign in the picture is right. Every life is on a path to a dead end.

When you have a lifelong partner it is a matter who gets there first. 

My wife and I are nearly the same age. I was 20 and she 19 when we married, the difference between us being a matter of months. She being female, the advantage is hers. Women generally outlast we men. 

She has never lived alone either. She lived with her parents from birth until her mother died when she was 17, then she lived with her father and grandmother. At 19 she married me and now we are being redundant, she and I living together for these 50 years.

Despite the odds, it would probably be better if she went first. I think I would handle the loneliness better. Ideally we will both live to be 100 and crumble to dust together.

That sign that appears to glow in the picture on the left says, "Closed". I don't know why that trail is closed. I assume it may have been altered by time and weather and made useless or risky.

So a path to my left is a dead end and the path straight ahead is closed. I could be foolish, for I tend to be a curious cat, and go down the closed path to see why. I decide not to be foolish. I go down the trail on my right.


Note: I mentioned Charles Parks. Here are a few of the sculptures of his that grace some of the parks hereabout that I have photographed over the years.

1 comment:

Tamela's Place said...

hey Larry,

I'm really enjoying the journey's you have been taking me on. I love a walk thru the woods. So peaceful and a great way to just spend time thinking about life and whatever random idea might pop your head. Thank you for another very pleasant stroll thru the woods Lar.

Tammy :)