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Diving Into Life

by MISSY BEATTIE

The storm washed through last Friday afternoon.   All was still and, then, I looked out the balcony doors to see tree leaves wet and undulating.  I was reminded of ocean waves.  Wind rushed rain across the greenery with feverish lapping. “It’s symmetry,” I said to my sister Laura.   I thought of lava flows, the sea, and two bodies, making love.  Nature and au naturel.

When the wind calmed, I walked out front and photographed a magnificent tree, split apart near its base.  Branches and limbs covered a portion of the parking lot.

On Monday evening, I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the third time.  I downloaded the soundtrack and am listening to it as I write.   Wednesday afternoon, I sat in the theater, again, just as engaged as I was during the previous viewings.  Obviously, I’m enchanted by this movie about seven British senior citizens, lured by the necessity of having to outsource their retirement.  Traveling and, then, experiencing Jaipur, they reach the richness of life.  (Okay, one is miserable, but her behavior highlights the all-encompassing joy found by the others.)

My copay for grief therapy is $40.00.  I did the math and calculated that I can see the film four times a week and leave the theater with a feeling of wonder and an appreciation for life that’s as beneficial as an hour with a counselor.

I’ve quoted over and over this line:  “Everything will be all right in the end.  And if it is not all right, it is not, yet, the end.”

And, now, I add, “India hits you like a wave.  If you resist, you will be knocked down.  But if you dive into it, you will be all right.”

Yesterday, I decided to dive into something beyond the comfort of the Kingdom of Exotic Cross Purposes here in Baltimore.  My son asked me to join him in Turkey.  At his expense. I agreed. When I walked down to Laura and Erma’s, after an early-morning run, I told them, and they said, “We want to go, too.”  Of course, they do.  Because, like me, they believe that we have one life—this one life.  And we must make of it what we can.   We’ll dive into Turkey.

It’s never too late for transformation.

Meanwhile:

Scott Walker retained his title in Wisconsin.  Thanks to Citizens United and the Koch brothers.

The economy has collapsed.  Thanks to Wall Street greed and power-crazed politicians.

Democracy is in ruins.  Thanks to: “Be afraid, because they hate us for our freedom.”

America is not the land of opportunity.  Thanks to institutionalized inequality.

Humanity is bloodied with shame.  Thanks to the crime of war and an apathetic public.

Furthermore:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Afghanistan after a NATO airstrike killed 18 women and children.  A joint investigation has been opened and will provide as much comfort to the families as did the findings of the 9/11 Commission—that the events of September 11, 2001 were the result of a “lack of imagination.”

What will become of Arab Spring?  Of the Occupy Movement, here?

Syria continues to burn.

Drones surveillance has come to our cities.

Drone warfare, embraced by the mass murderers, inflicts destruction in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and, probably, some soon-to-be-revealed location crucial to The Plan for Hegemony.

I think about this past week.  A storm that severed, at the point of decay, the massive ash tree just steps from my building. The scattering of my husband’s ashes to free myself.  Diving into the waves of life.  These conform to nature, new growth, healing.

War doesn’t.  Wall Street crime doesn’t.

I know what is necessary to mend my psyche and heart after personal loss. But I feel helpless under the blade of the US military/industrial/security behemoth.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  Email:  missybeat@gmail.com

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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