We’re trying, but we’re not sure how

callingangels.jpgHow many roads, how many times…that’s part of a folk song I sang when I was a kid. It is also part of the Hitchhiker’s codex,
“Forty-two!” yelled Loonquawl. “Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”
“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”
…So the search for the ultimate question began. Lacking a real question, the mice proposed to use “How many roads must a man walk down?” (the first line of “Blowin’ in the Wind“)

And just where is she going with this you might ask? Well, I do have a point and it concerns our apparent love for steps and processes and the compulsion to answer how far, how long, how many. As if by following the rules we can somehow achieve a kind of grace. If we can break anything down by components we feel we have a handle on it.

So while the quote below comes from part of a long silly list (#21 to be exact) of “things you should know by 50” I’m actually relived to see there is no order to the progression besides just the small steps it takes to get through the day. It is a bit of kitchen wisdom by Larkin Warren:

“After the first death, there is no other,” wrote Dylan Thomas. That doesn’t mean the ones that come after won’t break your heart, but it’s the first that punches your soul’s passport. Welcome, fellow human, to a different country than the one you woke up to this morning. The air’s different here; so is the scenery. Your knees don’t work so well; in fact, you may want to fall to them.”

And I agree with Yuna, this is not age specific learning.

A time to…say goodbye

speaker.gifIn a recent eulogy I heard the pastor recite Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “To every thing there is a season…” and it pinched because although I know he meant it as a source of comfort, it reminded me of that other old saw, “timing is everything.” Damn, why must my timing always be so different from yours? And which season would death best fit anyway? We are learning the physics of time is an artificial construct but one thing scientists seem to agree on is that, like the universe, it is constantly flowing away from us. How do you capture the time someone spent on earth in the few minutes allotted to you at a memorial for it? Some people are suddenly inspired and bring that person to life because it is “the most important thing they’ll ever do.” They don’t talk only about themselves, unless doing so involves the whole audience. They might not even talk at all.
When Einstein lost his lifelong friend, Michele Besso, in a consolation letter to Besso’s family he wrote, “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” It is a heartfelt sentiment, but I’m sure he was as frustrated with that stubborn illusion as I am. It could be that dream time is the only other illusion where we are still able to join those whose time for us has come and gone and where what we say doesn’t matter as much as that we remember.

UPDATE: To go with the post, a very sweet tune called Time by Kelley McRae (nice site but I sure wish Flash would let me link directly to the song). Thanks Lux! My, but she is Patsy Cline reincarnated and I’m only sorry I won’t get to see her as St. Joan.

Present and future

You may remember I’ve mentioned my cat here before. And I’ve also written about my artistic interest in funerary urns. Well this past weekend I just brought home what will be the future urn for my cat’s ashes thanks to Py Simpson and Arturo at the Phoenix Gallery. It is titled (very appropriately I think), “Some Kitties Can Fly” and was part of a show memorializing the many pets who died from the food poisoning recall earlier this year. So far the cat doesn’t seem to care much. But looking at it now makes me smile, and I know I will cherish it forever. Preparing isn’t very hard to do if your heart is in the right spot. Now it’s time to start saving my pennies for my own container

Pandora’s gmail

Pandora’s BoxMore useful information just came across my radar from CC which is worth preserving here. It’s about the process involved in opening a deceased person’s gmail account but I’m sure a similar procedure exists in just about any online service. Obviously it would just be easier on your poor family if you wrote out a list of contacts in case of death rather than forcing them to look through your dirty laundry? And for those who keep EVERY email you have ever received, perhaps you really don’t want to be archiving all that stuff after all, eh? Especially given the levels of privacy being invaded every day by frightening exciting new Google inventions.

Hi all,

Here is our formal request for information concerning access to a deceased person’s Gmail account. It should provide all the information you will need to proceed with contacting us for access.

If an individual has passed away and you need access to the content of his or her Gmail account, please fax or mail us the following information:

1. Your full name and contact information, including a verifiable email address.

2. The Gmail address of the individual who passed away.

3a. The full header from an email message that you have received at your verifiable email address, from the Gmail account in question. (To obtain the header from a message in Gmail, open the message, click ‘More options,’ then click ‘Show original.’ Copy everything from ‘Delivered- To:’ through the ‘References:’ line. To obtain headers from other webmail or email providers, please refer to http://www.spamcop.com/help_with_headers/)

3b. The entire contents of the message.

4. A copy of the death certificate of the deceased.

5. A copy of the document that gives you Power of Attorney over the Gmail account.

6. If you are the parent of the individual, please send us a copy of the Birth Certificate if the Gmail account owner was under the age of 18. In this case, Power of Attorney is not required.

Postal Mail:

Google Inc.
Attention: Gmail User Support
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Fax: 650-644-0358

After we’ve received the above information, we’ll need 30 days to process and validate the documents that you’ve provided. If you need access to the account sooner, in accordance with state and federal law, it is Google’s policy to only provide information pursuant to a valid third party court order or other appropriate legal process.

~ Gmail Guide