I have been honored to see Carla lately. I know so many people are thinking of her and the ending of her blog and what it all means, and that some of them may read this blog as well, so my best report is: she is weaker and thinner--and still completely Carla. Still beautiful, salty, clear, lucid, loving. She is the most clear-eyed person I have ever known. Like a pristine stream running over gray-green pebbles, if said stream also had a proclivity to tell off-color jokes and make fun of Republicans.
I find it hard to look at death, to even wrap my mind around it. When I was five and my father told me "Everyone dies," I remember exactly that my thought was "Won't they all be surprised when I live forever!" Immediate denial, which I guess is how five-year-olds are.
But this. Carla. Her presence is still precious and real and vivid. And she is surrounded by love. The care-takers she has now are tattooed angels of grace.
Like a lot of people I semi-believe in reincarnation without having any idea of how it might work. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence out there that something of us keeps going after death, and I'm game to plant my flag on that.
But I'm not sure that that's the most helpful thing to say to Carla right now (even though she pretty much knows that's what I believe.) My denial of death, or open-mindedness about reincarnation, or whatever you want to call it--this mish-mash of spiritual ideas we're all swimming in. I think what is most precious and useful right now to Carla--and to all of us--is just simple presence. Being with what is. Which is definitely ebb tide, and an inexorable pull out to sea.
If we--if I-- can just sit in that--that and the beauty of this world--that's all we can do right now. When I went walking at dusk the other night in the hills I surreptitiously hugged a Redwood. I was by myself on the path, but then a young man came along walking his dog and I straightened up and pretended I hadn't just been doing what I was doing and he pretended not to notice anything. And we passed each other and nodded good night.