End of Days

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Dark Landscape

As I turned toward the door of the cathedral I glanced back to see my late father walking beside me. We stepped into the brightness from the leadlight windows as he became someone else – a stranger. I would not be able to talk to Dad today.

A bridge to the other side of the river lay just outside the heavy doors. My Father as stranger declined to cross, disappearing around a corner without a glance back. I would have to walk this bridge alone, but he had been at my side all along, I took great comfort in that. The river water below was brown, flush from earth dredged in by storms and mudslides. A black metal grill walkway invited me to take in the caramel rush below as I crossed. It was a long walk but the bridge was strong, I made it to the other side without breaking pace.

I awoke from the dream knowing there will be an important crossing, but I will make it, albeit alone. I saw then that some crossings must be made alone, without the safety of those who watch over us, otherwise we’ll never find out what we’re made of. I thought it generous of my Dads spirit to accompany me so far.

Most of us do it at some time in our lives – cross a bridge without looking back, change cities, empty the closet of all of our clothes or just burn the whole house down – anything to make the journey into the new world. We need to shed our skin or be suffocated by a life we’ve outgrown.

I don’t know how I came to the edge of that bridge, but I know it was for me. Time to cross, time to not know what lays before me, just that this foot belongs here, and the next and the next. This is the place of immanence and vulnerability: becoming.

Nations and cultures go through such changes, one world dies as another is born. There are many deaths and births that await us all. I know what needs to be born, more than I understand exactly what it is that needs to die. Thats a good question to ask myself now: what needs to die? Perhaps its a question we should all be asking of our culture. I think there is a lot we need to let go of.

An apocalypse echoes across this new year. I’ve no doubt armageddon will come for some, perhaps even many. As the bloom of the modern world continues to unfold, indigenous people continue to disappear. For many the End of Days has been going on for millennia.

I trust that when I arrive at the other side of this river, whatever its really made of, I’ll be gentler. I know I’ll be closer to life and to death. In the dream I saw myself walk a snake winding path down to the edge of the river. The spring forest leaves danced in the light wind, welcoming me to the other side. My Dad was not there, but I missed him a little less. I was on my path, with the living. My pace quickened.

Photo Dark Landscape by by fs99
From Flickr, used under 
a Creative Commons license

3 thoughts on “End of Days

  1. This speaks to me profoundly. Shedding skin. Interesting that you mentioned “changing cities”: I just moved to another town (just a few miles from my previous home, but still a significant transition given my connection to the city of Oakland, where I’ve spent more of my life than any other). That’s the most obvious skin I’ve shed during this time of solstice / “new year” transition, but not the only one, by any means.Perhaps the part of this post that most speaks to me, though, is the idea — which had not ‘crossed’ my mind, given the amount of tumult I’ve gone through in the past couple of months — that perhaps I have crossed those bridges, and there aren’t more more more of them for me to cross in the immediate future; that perhaps now I get a chance to actually put down some roots, sow some seeds, catch my breath, stop juggling innumerable upheavals and just feel the earth beneath my feet for a minute.

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  2. Excellent piece Tim. A few weeks back on a blog that I regularly visit one the core group began a thread about death. But your piece addresses the self’s core in ways that none discussed there did. I can think of so many examples that it starts to seem banal when I think about letting a part of yourself die: from thumb sucking, security blanket, the first time on a bicycle without training wheels or a parent, the first day of school – but we reach a point when our vision changes and all we can see are the ways we long to burn bridges: get free from the parents, the teachers, the bosses, the rat race, the mortgage – then we realize some of those bridges were links in a chain that led to places we wanted to go (be born into) but we had somehow failed to see that while we were busy burning bridges. Hope that makes sense to you.

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  3. Thanks so much for both of your comments. I feel the resonance of where you’re both coming from. I find that there is some part of myself that can look forward to the letting go part with excitement, but its definitely the smaller part of me. It really struck me – all of this end of times stuff. Maybe any culture has to do that – to allow parts of itself to die so that the new, more vital thing can thrive.

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