WhereMI

I don’t always understand what I feel. Just now coming out of the Saint Louis Art Museum’s exhibit on impressionism, I stood briefly on its front steps and freeze, inert and overcome with an unidentifiable feeling: a thrill; some ancient ache; a half recognition as if a curtain been momentarily parted and somehow this filled my body with a pleasant electrical charge and the swiftest of thoughts coursed through my mind and marrow. Was it the past, my past being, intruding – playfully, involuntarily – on my present moment of being? Had the push and pull of color, the drips of paint, the zip and abstractions I’d witnessed induced a part of me to sluice beyond eloquence along time’s continuum?
I drove to a nearby coffeehouse one car in front of me in traffic for the short trip, its vanity plate reading: WhereMI.
A decade ago my older brother, Kevin, had died unexpectedly. And then, just this past winter, also somewhat unexpectedly, Mum passed away at seventy-seven with lung cancer. The person before me, the one to embody all that my future self would come to incarnate; the person who created me, who brought from her womb, who ushered me up – both gone. Why did I feel this inexplicable quietude in my gut? Why did their deaths, first Kevin’s in 2000 and then Mum’s bring me here in this present moment such ineffable love and knowing in their absence, my soul neither destroyed nor without dent, neither heavy nor weightless; filled with neither utter appalling blackness nor suspended in blinding blankness. Just where was I? And why did I not feel at all alone, as I sat alone with others on a day just like today?

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