Saturday, June 07, 2008

Light of Evening


On Tuesday, I’m going to JFK to pick up a young woman from Israel and bring her to Port Authority. A few years ago she was sitting on a bus in Jerusalem when a young Arabic man sat down next to her. She turned to him.
“Hello,” she said, and turned to look back out the window.
He blew himself up. The woman was rushed to the hospital. Major veins were ripped open and the doctors didn’t think she would make it. But as fate would have it, the only doctor in the country who could perform the surgery that could save her life was in the hospital that very moment, getting chemotherapy treatment for his cancer. He unhooked the chemo IV from his arm and went to the operating room and did the surgery, putting her veins back together with odd parts and guile, constructing a new face from the pieces of the old one.
“How will I recognize her?” I asked the man who wants me to pick her up.
“You will,” he said.

I was in the woods all last week, and in the mornings, the birds were out in full force -- thrushes, swallows, woodpeckers, robins, whooperwills, even a Peacock – singing their songs, courting their mates, pounding their heads into the trees in search of food. The music of their doings was a symphony as beautiful as anything any orchestra has ever played; it ebbed and flowed with an unpredictable but sublimely organized rhythm; you could feel that these birds were pouring their hearts into every sound, as if this one note, this one right here, was the last one they’d ever sing, was the culmination of everything they’d lived for.

The woman from Israel was in a coma for weeks. They didn’t know what kind of function she would recover. But she woke up and improved and left the hospital. And now she is coming to the states to, more or less, sit in the woods and listen to the birds.
“She has no anger, no regrets about what happened,” says the man who arranged her journey.
“None?” I ask, because how is that possible?
“None,” he says.
“Never?”
“She should be dead. But she’s alive. What is there to complain about?”

One night, I’m up reading essays about the universe. In one chapter, the author describes how every single molecule on this planet was born in the furnace of stars and then scattered throughout the universe by their supernovae explosions. That is, when the stars ran out of fuel, they collapsed in on themselves, creating tremendous pressure that blew them apart, and so their atoms were launched throughout the heavens. We are, there is no other way to put it, made of stars.

2 Comments:

Anonymous cat said...

whenever you go to the library or book store, take out RUMI's "birdsong" book and read the introduction by coleman barks. sometimes science can strip away the romantics of such beings or existence and in some cases, scientific facts adds more to the magic. birdsongs and the fact of stars :)
beautiful thoughts, josh. thanks for sharing your woods with us. enjoy your day, tomorrow and tuesday. (beyond that of course)

10:42 AM  
Blogger Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Intense. Jodi

6:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home