Days before – Days after – Time now (But months ago)
On days like today when a cyclone is winding, spinning up all its tension, I’d sit out on a seawall, a rocky point some place along the Coral Sea, listing for voices from the past. Some say that every word ever spoken, every tale shared in open conversation is still out there if we listen hard enough. As the rain here comes down and a rising sea gale whistles through it, I can hear, remember a few conversations still riding their currents through the currently dense air. Perhaps my memory is shot in some cases, from the times I’ve felt most confusion, you can paint such moments a thousand ways, though your head will continue to track the same groove to how it remembers what happened.
It comes, falls like this mystic rain, tangled up in knots bouncing from one wind blast to a next, hoping to still have compassion inside, to right mistakes and make amends. Yes, make amends and not turn bitter like a rising ice storm, for these tropics be warm places, a heart with blood pumping through its chambers, where rising rivers flow to a coral painted sea. All while conversations still out there on the air’s currents and tides, we continue to add new ones to them each day and to make a difference. The conversations, moments, stories being remembered, journeys from memory, something like what follows when remembering the conversation, the tale of Trade.
Trade, sixteen and three quarters is a long time ago for a boy (now a man) from a small village far inland, while when visiting a coast where the Sun rises over an ocean, a sea. It’s a good day just like the past sixteen just gone, beaches of white sand, saltwater surf, and a little time for fishing. Yes, fishing with his mother and siblings, a day he can not forget, perched upon a rock sea wall while casting into the sheltered calm waters on in shore side. Then it happened, sudden and confusing a little jostling, wet rocks, and some balance issues, the day was over, a holiday ended. The boy’s mother fell heavy upon the sea wall. At this stage to layout the entire circumstance, the boy’s father had gone out to drive further up the coast to meet with some people, and that the whole family will go out fishing upon his return. But upon his return, the boy’s father rushed his wife to town for medical attention, while the boy and his siblings waited in their holiday house.
Yes, the holiday ended, and as days soon passed a great sadness filled the entire family. While the boy on the first day to his high school senior year, in some way became disowned by his father and mother, told when the year ends, you are on your own. You see the fall ruptured an illness within his mother, and its rapid spread through out her body, took her life in just five short months. The whole year seemed a blur for the family, but time continued to chart it’s course. For a year and a half he, the boy helped out with his siblings, though his relationship with his father dwindled to a thin veneer as the time passed.
Then the boy moved away, made his own direction in life, even while homeless for a while on occasions, and so for decades little communication or contact occurred between him and his father, he even stayed distant from his siblings (but they where scattered too and difficult to keep in contact with over time). But time passed and his father too approached his end of days, and in one of their final conversations, even though they did not discuss the past, they did discuss times when family or friends asked for help, one needs to offer compassion (find and share empathy), give all that one can in another’s time of need. For you see, the boy now a man, has never asked for help from family or friends, perhaps he lost his way many times, but still he makes his own way.
The year passed and he buried his father, while memories of conversations remain and surface from time to time along with old stories. Until along came one new year, an old friend who have been like family made contact, her situation strained, a widow with a teenage son and daughter still living at home.
The boy now a man, has been busy saving his pennies to buy the house, a home he’s been renting the last ten years, as the owners wanted to off load it. He only had months to get his act together and make the purchase. The old friend, her daughter’s future on the rise, she’s been accepted to a prestigious performing arts college, but the widow, old friend has lost her job due to injury and the family car is in desperate need of repair. The arts college is hundreds of miles from where the family live, the daughter is contemplating not going due to fears of isolation from family and friends. The old friend is desperate to reassure her daughter she’ll be able to visit regularly, but has an extreme fear of flying.
The boy now a man, dipped heavy into the funds for the house, as (he remembers) compassion and empathy began to overflow inside his soul; the old friend’s car was soon repaired and back on the road, while her daughter’s fears of isolation eased. A few short months after, the boy now a man then purchased his own home. Trade, once a boy, now a man.
Then it happened, now’s time while writing on thoughts about compassion here sitting in a dark space by a screened open window. A towering vertical branch to a broad tree became served by a rocketing gust of wind, sending it flipping end over end as this frozen part-time writer watched it barreling towards him inside the four walls to a house tucked in underneath the western side of a small, but protective ridge.
It had arrived, Cyclone Marcia. The twenty feet of tree slammed violently into a clothes hoist that was secured to a back timber deck, kicking its head sideways to a new permanent ninety degrees as the broken branch ricocheted from an intended path for the open window, collapsing in a shattered fashion upon the grass.
At this point all writing was dropped and the last couple of open windows were secured as we hunkered down for five and a half hours of Marcia’s party with a forty minute intermission when the eye passed over.
When it was all over, most of everyone’s hearts and minds were in the same place, we had compassion for one another, checking if people, families up and down the street and over the back where all okay and safe, helping where needed. We started cleaning up were no powerlines had fallen and where it was safe to do so. For days the clean up continues, and is still happening along Marcia’s path of destruction, while entire communities have compassion for one another as all pull together to help out where ever possible with many hands and hearts.
Our home and us here got let off lightly here by Marcia, many other families and businesses around the city and surrounds did not. Compassion is most definitely of the heart, something we feel and experience, and when needed, give, share, offer without hesitation.