I've been whistling "Monday, Monday, la laaa, la la la laaa..." -- Because, as the poet Billy Collins says-- in his poem Monday, " the birds are in their trees, the toast is in the toaster and the poets are at their windows "-- and this writer is at her desk by the window. It's a little messy, there is a puppy chewing on a laptop cord, and an older dog sighing and farting on the dog bed, and yes, as the poet would say, there is some tea involved, and a window. Three actually.
I'm writing two obituaries -- one for Dave (sometimes called Vern) who drove the high school cross-country running teams I used to coach 800 miles or so from Haines to the Anchorage area for the state championships in a big comfy Chilkat Cruises tour bus. His big heart stopped last week. He was 65, and a man of few words, and much patience, it seemed to me. He has no known family, but about 40 people came to his graveside service, and the firemen and policemen built his casket, because they wanted to. Lately he'd been pumping gas at Delta Western and training his pet rabbit to do tricks. The other is for Mike Murphy, who was younger- and had larynx cancer- and didn't live here anymore, and his sweet daughter took care of him up in Palmer the last ten weeks of his life. Mike worked as a truck driver here for twenty years or so.
Which is a lot of loss to take in on a Monday morning, yet not by any means of the measure of either men. It's plenty to move your heart though-- just like all the shorthand versions of the lives of the Las Vegas victims, or of the Newtown victims, or Orlando, or San Bernardino, or Aurora, and even way back to Columbine, how long ago was that? One of my swimming friends is a retired public health nurse. She is frank and pithy and wise. She noted that anyone can buy a gun but "If you are sick you can't buy medicine without seeing a doctor and getting a prescription first." Go figure. Oh, when will there be common sense gun laws in this country? Will it have to wait until everyone in America knows someone who was shot at a concert, or a school, or a movie? Maybe we're getting close-- I bet a lot of us knows someone who knows someone that was shot randomly. (I do. I know the family of a man who was shot in a movie theater in Louisiana.)
But let's get back to Monday where "the poets are at their windows, because that's their job for which they are paid nothing every Friday afternoon." Even though it's very good work, "to tell the truth and tell it slant" and to speak up for love and kindness and truth and beauty, isn't it? And joy. There's joy, too. Leap for it. Share it. Don't give up on it.
So I'm at my window too- and you are here peeking in-- the view today is seasonal, gray, with fresh snow, clouds, a beach scoured clean by the big storm tides yesterday, and the yard is full of leaves again (even though I raked Saturday), back when the sun was out and it was so beautiful.
Also, it is Indigenous Peoples' Day in Alaska. That's progress. It's nice to know that so much is possible. Very nice. I think someone should sing don't you?-- or at the very least whistle-- And add a little dance step too-- that would be good-- better yet, do it all at once, on a trampoline, dressed in your favorite tutu.