We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

A Hard Place to Be

Written By: Charles - Jul• 19•20

Summer and the Moon of Justice

Sunday gratefuls: My partner, Kate. Our sweet girl, Rigel. And, our good boy, Kepler. Kate’s stoma site looking better. The front yard, looking clean and foresty with the stumps gone. The backyard looking good, will look better before Labor Day. Window cleaners, gutter cleaners in August. Yeah. Rethinking our Covid life. Republican, Trumpian angst.

Every limbo boy and girl
All around the limbo world
Gonna do the limborock
All around the limbo clock
Jack be limbo, Jack be quick Chubby Checker, 1962

Remember the limbo? Wonder how we’d all do now? Those of us in the Boomer brigade. Would not be pretty, I imagine. Kate and I used this word today to name a source of sadness. Covid has put our lives in a limbo between then, PC, and, whenever, post-C dominance of life. Her illness puts our lives in limbo between our old life together and whatever happens next. In some ways the third phase is a limbo phase between the younger, active days of education, family, career, and that old scythe wielder in the black hoodie, death.

Limbo was an abode near hell, a permanent eternal home for the just who died before the birth of Jesus and those who died unbaptized. Limbo is the ablative form of limbus, or border. Reminded me of liminal. Comes from a Latin word that means threshold. On the threshold of hell lies a well-bordered realm for those who couldn’t fit into a medieval Roman Catholic understanding of theodicy.

Yes, that’ll do. We are, through no fault of our own, needing to stay at home, in limbo, our homes being the border between us and the hell of Covid. And the threshold, the liminal space, is a place now filled with danger and possibility.

The ancient Celts believed the liminal times of dawn and twilight were magical, the optimal time to work spells, to conduct rituals. Many religious traditions have waking up and going to bed prayers, rituals. Jews, for example pray in the morning to open the literal eye and the metaphorical one. Episcopalians pray at night: “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.”

Limbo is a tough place to be. Liminal spaces like dawn and twilight, or liminal places like an ocean beach or a lake’s shoreline, offer entrance to another world, one unlike the one we are currently in. At night, sleep. In day, wakefulness. On the beach land underneath us and oxygen in the air, in the water, water beneath us and oxygen trapped, for us, in its molecules.

What’s beyond the threshold of limbo? A Biden presidency? A world made safer with vaccines, good testing, and contact tracing? A healthier Kate, able to get around more the world? We just don’t know. We are not, however, unbaptized souls trapped in a metaphysical realm, but flesh and blood trapped in a disastrous political situation compounded with a pall created by plague.

We are souls in waiting. A hard, hard place to be.

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