Just one moment…


“Half of what I say is meaningless;

but I say it so that the other half may reach you.”

Kahlil Gibran

I saw  only their hands pass the window of the car…rubbing against each other with unmistakable urgency, clutching and clinging in some desperate, pressured grief.

I was distracted  for just one moment…and when I turned again,

they were gone.


We live this life, from beginning to end, without guarantees. Malevolent, one step back…benevolent, advance to go.

As I write these stories, I admit to a search for some redeeming quality, and try to remember experiences which counterbalance many that are sad, or unrelievedly depressing. It does seem as if the moments which I can weigh against pain and sorrow are small and common…nearly invisible from a certain perspective.

Life hands us a generous portion of suffering, which we endure as the dues of survival in the garden…there is after all, a pecking order, and who is to say whether the fittest are not also the most unhappy…having exiled their companions. 

Occasionally, a glimmer of beauty will twinkle in that somber darkness, so that the entire sad procession seems backlit, and enchantingly worthwhile…the dark magic of silhouetted puppetry.

Or does joy arise from despair…like carbonated bubbles in a mudpot.

We posit pain against pleasure…as if they were enemies…not two sides of the same coin.

For me…a word, a door held when your arms are full, a radiant smile from a beautiful woman, are inexpressible episodes that redeem the day in their small largeness.

We are witness to tiny vignettes of sweet humanity, and place these dainty bits on one side of the scale, while on the other is heaped, bulk upon bulk, the ponderous burden of despair. It is to be hoped, that by some miracle of the universe, the balance comes up even, and we continue.

We breathe, we laugh, we love and fabricate an existence from the raw stuff of life.

If you consider how many successes there actually are; the mind-boggling amount of happy births; and how much love and selfless sacrifice goes unremembered, even unnoticed…perhaps the scales are not so uneven after all.

Just maybe, when we count, we are more blessed than not.

It’s not really that complicated…this good and evil business. Each of us chooses…

in every moment,

and every breath


The companion sat in back, and teasingly asked if the “old girl” was flirting with me. She laughed as I gave an arch look to the right, toward the small body that sat in the front seat beside me. I noticed the  hands, tiny and translucent… webbed with soft blue veins to her lace covered wrists, and then caught the pale green eyes looking up at me. A delicate smile emerged from a thousand fine line wrinkles that spread across her face like cracked porcelain.

In that look was a small ember from a distant fire.

She had been a dancer, the companion said, in the burlesque, and last week had her one hundredth birthday. The party was a very happy affair at St’ Anne’s home for the poor, at which, the “old girl”, to everyone’s delight, danced and sang the full length of “Oh, you beautiful doll.”…twice.

I laughed and looked again at her face, which still looked up at mine; …and in her eyes, moistened by some never forgotten yearning, I saw that she was indeed, still… a beautiful doll.

“And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind

How time has ticked a heaven ‘round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb,

How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.”

-Dylan Thomas


~ by theoxherd on December 2, 2012.

2 Responses to “Just one moment…”

  1. Some beautiful verses here. I like the way you’ve combined story-like scenes with personal narrative reflection. I do believe the deeper our sorrow, the more able we are to see joy in the “ordinary.”

    • I think what you say is true…it seems we experience through contrasts, and if the joys are small like grains of sand, they just might bury those pyramids of discontent.

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