Metronome

We stand side by side waving our arms beating time in the wind
beautiful and senseless.

I can’t get away from the turbines. The sound is the placental rhythm,
the wind cut by the blade is the same as the heart closing around gulps of blood
is the same as my arms stroking through a pool in summer is the same as your
breath heaving while we make love.

If I could believe that after this is something so different, which I guess nothing is (really different) I would say, and I am saying, that I will miss this rhythm. I will miss the sound of the air moving in and out, the breathing, the and…

Today a family I have been working with let go of their sister/daughter/mother. She is in a cyclone of septic infection. The bacteria are eating her skin and I have taken off huge swaths of her landscape and I am losing. I can’t get ahead of it. I am constantly caught in the backwash. These are the flesh eating bacteria that incite dread when people read about it or see the pseudo-documentaries on cable tv. These are those bugs. The flesh becomes the food and the only treatment is to cut away what is dead. The problem with these infections is that the blood supply to the tissue is inadequate for the antibiotics. A knife is the only hope and it is literally barbaric. The antibiotics wash around the edges of the infection but if the dead tissue is not removed, there is no winning. I took this woman back to the OR five times in ten days. Finally the family looked up, as if seeing her in a new way–or maybe an old, love-filled way and said stop. Essentially, “let the dying finish.” The time beats out the last seconds for her soon and then the next second happens and the next and time does its thing and she will have passed through the windmill herself.

The windmills stand guard over the moments and I want to hug them when I finally hear the might of the air they move. If you pass by them, stop and listen. I am comforted by their neutrality, by the simple progression. Nothing might happen in this one stroke or I might be done in this one, or I might play a C Major 7th, full and round on my guitar, and harness joy and store it until the next moment comes.

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5 Responses to Metronome

  1. Stephen Parkhurst says:

    Wow !!! Stephen, your work is great…both here and there. I’m amazed.

  2. Bobbi says:

    Breathe in, breathe out. Good luck Doctor S.

  3. Barbara says:

    “let the dying fin­ish.”
    a phrase that could be applied to so many things……..hard to feel this one, but beautiful too……

  4. P. Voyles says:

    This is a striking photograph. I love how the sky is such a deep, dark color on top and gets lighter as it goes down. Simple and yet beautiful!

  5. anita says:

    i like the last two sentences. this is what makes life liveable–the mind of no preferences stance with the proceeding of time, plus the fact that sometimes joy does happen. sometimes we make it happen.

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