Death’s Door Opens Both Ways

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Friday gratefuls: Vaccines. Stable lung disease. Purim. Esther. Psalms. Easy Entrees. Valentine’s Day. Duncan, Oklahoma. Watonga. Alexandria. Connersville. Muncie. Crawfordsville. Appleton. Nevis. Center City. Minneapolis. St. Paul. Andover. Conifer.

Sparks of joy: Birthday coming. Inogen on Mark’s big sketch book page. Gratitude. Waxing crescent Moon. Cold and snow on the way. The possibility of vaccines.


isle of the dead, arnold brocklin


Rabbi Jamie asked us to take six words out of Psalm 23 then write 6 verses using them. I took words from his translation: Death’s door, solitude, fear, harmonies, valleys, and grace. Here is my psalm/poem using them:

Death’s door opens both ways

Into my solitude and back out

Erasing my fear

From its threshold cosmic harmonies spill out

Filling the valleys of our lives

With the grace of eternity.


I’ve been thinking about radical aloneness coupled with necessary linkages. As humans, our skin bounds us, binds us. Only we know the inner life of our Self, our soul, our unique journey through this random gift of sentience. Yet. We have no language to know the journey without the necessary linkage to another, to others. We have no food to eat without the necessary linkage to the products of the soil. We have no learning without the quickening of our senses by necessary linkages to reality. (whatever that is.)

It’s a peculiar and often devastating truth, our radical aloneness. It’s both ironic and salvific that we cannot be radically alone without necessary linkages to others, to food, to the world beyond us. Covid has made the global scope of our linkages evident in spite of our radical aloneness.

I would say each one of us IS an island surrounded by an ocean of others. On our island are the structures we’ve built, the colors we’ve used to paint them, the roads that lead forward and backward through the story of our life. It is a mobile island. We have to take it with us wherever and whenever we go.

It has rickety bridges, poorly maintained causeways for the transport of food and air. There are several viewing platforms and from our island we can see other viewing platforms. Are they on other islands? A quirk of perception makes it impossible to know.

Even so we are often at our platforms, looking out, using flags to send signals. The others use flags too but we cannot be sure their flags mean the same as ours. They often look similar, but it’s impossible to know for sure.

I’m signaling right now. Arms flashing, plucking flags from their stanchions, returning others. Thinking of you, imagining you and your island. I hope things are ok there.





















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