01 March 2013

A Celtic Knot Away


Been knocking about, writing stories and drawing LOTR characters betwixt Chemistry class notes, and thinking about death.

My friends tell me (and a lot of grown-ups) that I have an amazing amount of danger tolerance. I guess if you read this blog you've probably come to the same conclusion.  Beasts? Bullies? Bad-guys? Bring it.

I came to the point where I decided that I wasn't afraid of anything. I've stood on the highest point Mount Si, with voices behind me calling Raymond, get away from the edge, tossing rocks over the gorge, waiting four, five, ten seconds before hearing the crack, not even feeling a chill down my spine.  They're more afraid than I am, and they're not even near the edge. Afraid? Not me.

 But I've found out that I do have a fear. Two, actually. Take notes, this could be the last you hear of them. This stuff ain't easy to talk about. The first of course, is cleaning earwax out of my ear with that evil Chinese spoon. My brother broke my eardrum once by sticking a chopstick in my ear (playing doctor) and it kind of scarred me for life.  My mom digs deep and hard. I feel like I'm getting a lobotomy or something. I keep on expecting her to pull out her deadly surgical ear-cleaning stick with a bunch of brain-goop and little sparks of electricity zapping out from it. Anyway, it still makes me get dizzy.  I know it's not my place to question God, but if he made us in his image, what's with the nose-hairs and earwax? He probably just made it to humiliate us. And have a good laugh. At any rate, I'm not laughing.

The second fear came as a surprise. I discovered it during those times I'm left home alone, and my family told me they'd be back at 8:30, and it's 9:00 and they're still not back.  I'm fogging up the window, and I can't think any other thought but "what if they don't come back?" I'm bracing myself for that wretched call from the police "we regret to inform you, Joseph, that there was an accident on I-90..." or "there was a shooting down at South Center and..." and those words would shatter my whole life, shape my whole future, my whole character, and make or break it forever.

Maybe my friends really do have a reason to be more terrified than me when they see me playing on cliff-edges. Because it's not my death I'm afraid of. It's yours.


It doesn't make me any more cautious or protective actually, because can I help it if my sister is on a 747 eight miles above Earth and the engine fails? Or if my dad gets a heart attack, or my brother is hit by a car? It's the one thing in life I can't stand not being able to control, not knowing when it's going to happen. And we all know it's going to happen. At some point, someone I love is going to die. And I don't know how I'll react to it.

So here I am, doodling during Chemistry lectures and worrying whether my mother will be alive to pick me up afterwards. Not exactly constructive daydreaming, but the part of me that is also trying to memorize the periodic table of elements is enjoying himself.  The part of me that would rather feel pain than nothing at all. So here's a bit of nonsense I wrote, about Celtic knots, and the death of the wife I haven't met yet. And yes, I did steal a line from Song of Solomon. It's actually written to music, but can't figure out the chords and I'm not singing it if I did.

Remember when we
Would play by the sea
I'd sing as you strummed on the lyre?
Your songs rung in the glen
Now I strain to listen
To those songs that I no longer hear

My love has lived twice
She's seen Paradise
How could you have left me behind?
I'll never see you
Till I can undo
This labyrinth woven in time

Until I feel the cool of day
When life's long shadows flee away
Until that day, I'll always say
My love's a Celtic knot away

I'll find them, I swear
Why wasn't I there
When the cold steel met ends with her bone?
How wretched I am
What a miserable man
That I'd leave her to face them alone

While the embers still glow 
I can see her shadow
As it dances on tapestry walls
And I must go on
For my love has gone
To the land from whence they fall


Until I feel the cool of day
When life's long shadows flee away
Until that day, I'll always say
My love's a Celtic knot away

Celtic knots remind a lot of time. They're doesn't seem to be much space between them, the end seems right before your eyes, but if you follow one thread from one end to the other, it seems to take an eternity. It's maddening to have to go through this maze of life before you'll finally meet up with that person again.

Hannah got my acrylic paints for Christmas. I'm still trying to figure it out, and everything still turns out more cartoon-ey than I like. But just writing a song didn't seem to cut it.  I don't know, maybe I should just get back to Chemistry. Or cleaning my ears out.

What's sadder than a broken heart is a heart incapable of being broken.

Will it hurt?

Yeah it'll hurt. It'll hurt like heaven.

And that's the best hurt ever.

Laugh hard and love hard.
-The Minstrel Boy


  1. I do the exact same thing. I fear my own death too, but only for others' sake. A teacher used to ask my class about what we'd do if an angel came to us in the morning and said we'd only a day to live. I always started crying, but only because I'd have to be discovered the next morning. Would I write a letter, telling my family that I was all right? Where would I leave it? On the table, so that they'd rush in to find me? In my hand, so that they'd know already that I was gone? Really I'm only afraid of what it would do to them, because I don't think I could handle losing my mom or dad or brother. Could they stand losing me?

    Your closing sentences are beautiful, by the way. But you knew that!

    1. Man, I love it when you leave long comments like this. :P Actually, you reminded me of that quote by Jean Valjean. "It is nothing to die, but it is horrible to have never lived." I could stand losing me, but that's about all I could stand. And thank you, I like the way you say things too :)

    2. Oh, good. After posting that I thought, "Wow. He's going to get on here and think, 'Really? That annoying girl just can't be quiet, can she?'" And yes, I embrace my hypothetical quote within a hypothetical quote. Yeah. That's an excellent real quote you have there; I have to look it up!

    3. You're in speech and debate, aren't you? That's the great thing about speechers...we can't shut up :P