December 31, 2022

The Golden Light of Endings

In his book, I Wrote This For You, Iaian Thomas wrote a breathtaking poem that I can't stop thinking about.

In his words --


I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere

and when something is about to end,

it shines brightly so you know it's about to end.

And if you're never going to see someone again,

it'll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say,

"It was nice to have you in my life while I did,

good luck with everything that happens after now."

And maybe if you're never going to eat at the same restaurant again,

it'll shine and you can order everything off the menu you've never tried.

Maybe, if someone's about to buy your car,

the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. 

Maybe, if you're with a group of friends who'll never be together again,

all your lights will shine at the same time and you'll know, 

and then you can hold each other and whisper,

"This was so good.  Oh my God, this was so good."


A golden light for endings.

I agree with you, beautiful poet.

It would be a powerful notification,

The root word of notification being notice.


It would be nice if a little bell rang, if we glowed with golden light, if the sky lit up at the end, if we noticed as things draw to a close.


Earlier this year, Mike Ashcraft and I worked hard to finish and release his book, To Be Concluded.D9C4C905-E865-4598-BCBC-A250D723D42F


I had the unique privilege of being his collaborator, of listening to his voice and thoughts, of putting them on the page in a collaboration of listening that somehow makes an author's voice travel through my fingers.  Writing will forever be holy magic to me.


Mike wrote about how we live our lives like a perpetual binge-watch, in a constant mode of "to be continued."  He calls it chronic continuation.

One day rolls into another, one season into another, one year into another.  At least Netflix gives us the ten second countdown to go to the bathroom before the next episode begins.


In his words --


"Many seasons have defined conclusions, like New Year's Eve or high school graduation.  There are times when everyone knows it's over.


But other endings are vague - like the cultural transition from mullets and flattop haircuts, the finish line from winter to spring, or the long journey to healing from grief, disappointment, and loss.


Sometimes the conclusion is so subtle we don't notice it, and sometimes we discover the conclusion far too late, when we're left holding only regret or hindsight."


Sometimes we know it's over because it ended. We can all agree on the very second it ended.


Sometimes we know it's over because we look around and discover it ended without anybody watching it go.


New Year's Eve is a manmade construct, an arbitrary finish line.  Nothing's really over, and our days blaze forward whether we celebrate tonight or not.


I think the writers have it right, and New Year's Eve gives it so us.

We need to finish.

Tonight fireworks will light up the sky.

The gold light of ending.


Look around and watch it go.  Realize it's leaving.

Notice that it's ending.


Maybe even hold each other and pray,

"Oh my God, it was so good."

One comment on “The Golden Light of Endings”

  1. We do have that little golden light, even when we're not aware of it. In 2019, I wrote an essay about my family's wonderful, crazy, raucous, joyful Christmas gathering - four generations - unaware it was my mother's last. I am so grateful to have captured that little golden light while fresh in my mind.
    A friend and her siblings visited their 90+ mother with dementia. Her post's photo shows a brilliant golden light shining out of the mom's face ("dancing" with one of her sons while hanging on to her walker) - another moment of joy all too fleeting. We live for those moments.




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