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Beginnings in Endings

We will all die. It’s a simple truth. I’ve been wrestling with it quite a bit the last few weeks since the Ohio lockdown. It seems as if our health professionals are pushing their timelines back in an ever-increasing hedge against what they probably would like to say, which is “we don’t know when this will end, and by the way, everyone will get this.” It’s not disingenuous at all. I just don’t think they have the ability or the permission to say, “make your plans, now.”

And so, I find it sort of fitting that I finally have put the finishing touches on a short poetry thread that has taken me a few years to write. I’m usually quite prolific in my writing, but this one took quite a while to formulate – more or less, to get out. Work, parenting, and a massive 14-acre property project has taken up a lot of my free time these past 4 years, but this is the natural way of things. I was meant to be a father, and I’ve allowed myself the grace to know that I am, indeed, a good one!

So, I promised that I would share my work with this blog, and to that I hold (Lord of The Rings reference, sorry). It’s just that I came to realize over the course of refining these works, and then sequencing them, that I had clearly undertaken the task of mourning the death of our second child, who was lost in the womb. I knew it was a girl. I just did. My marrow moved with knowing.

The concept of the Dandelion Man first came to me when we moved out to our property, and our first full Spring there revealed a sea of dandelions across the mowed sections of our yard. Then at night, with the curtains pulled back in our bedroom, fireflies lit up the night like I’d never seen before, as if I was looking at dandelions of our yard, just at nighttime.

Being around nature has forced me to deal with death in different sort of way. We often feel that we can live without it, but I’d beg to differ that it is our friendly companion who walks about our days along side of us. We must, and especially now, during this pandemic, turn and look it in the face. Welcome it even into our hearts so that we can put negative energies aside and become our true, heroic selves.

Wow. I know all that sounds like a motivational speaker who’s really had one too many energy drinks. I realize that. But, this world is changing, and the world needs kind warriors, especially now. Talk to your loved ones, soon if not now, about what life might be like without you. Have the discussion, so that you can move beyond fear and get to the good, if even in making someone smile for a second during these crazy times. Divine love is something fear could never handle.

But in getting back to the work. People often read my stuff, and they’re left with a feeling much like I’ve tricked them somehow. Then they are embarrassed and ask a lot of questions. But that’s never been the aim of my art. As I begin writing, most often as I do, it’s about trying to put words to visceral images or dreams, or perhaps rhythms that I’m feeling in my body that I just can’t shake. Crazy stuff. Yup. That’s how this stuff comes to me. It’s not like I sit down and say to myself, “Jason, now it’s time to write…begin!” There are no white plumes of inspiration. Just my heart leading me down a path with words much like the feeling of holding a baby mouse in your hands.

So, as I have told my friends or family members who have been taught to figure poetry out, as if it were simply a math problem, I say, just read and contemplate the images that come to you. Nothing more. And of all the things you could be reading right now, I thank you for looking into my mind, if even for a second.

Perhaps we could interact with others in such a way? What might that be like?

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