Wednesday, November 15, 2006

OLIVER | In Praise of Craziness, of a Certain Kind

In Praise of Craziness, of a Certain Kind

On cold evenings
my grandmother,
with ownership of half her mind--
the other half having flown back to Bohemia--

spread newspapers over the porch floor
so, she said, the garden ants could crawl beneath,
as under a blanket, and keep warm,

and what shall I wish for, for myself,
but, being so struck by the lightning of years,
to be like her with what is left, that loving.

~ Mary Oliver

I am in the kind of mood that wonders what really matters in life. Have I done well, these past thirty years?

I am watching my parents grow old, and realising that the time may come when I have to take care of them. The cycle of life, coming to parent our parents. Their memory is not as good as it used to be. Their health is declining. This year, my father and I travelled to Tibet. For him, it was important to do these things before the human body fails on him.

We don't like to think of old age and senility and terrible names like "dementia" - but they are reality. We have made so much of ourselves, of all the strength and splendour of our youth. After we lose our minds, either in madness or senility, what is left?

Is there enough kindness left?

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