Monday, May 31, 2010
Of memorials and solitary work
For the past couple of years there's been an informal memorial up at Guana Reserve, almost at the northernmost point of the beach. I've written about The Monument before. It's been called "Rodney's memorial", not for my husband Rodney, but for a man we used to call "Segway guy", an older man with long grey ponytail and a long, pointed beard, riding his Segway on the beach, looking like a biker with a really unexpected ride. When we finally talked to him we all laughed: not only was his name Rodney, too, but he is married to a woman named Angie. We haven't seen him in a few months but didn't worry because we know cold weather keeps him off the beach. But there may be another reason we haven't seen him: the memorial has been taken down. It's just one of those things, but it's kind of sad. It was, as I've said, a form of organic, living art. More than that, it was a form of dialogue, a discussion, a conversation without words. We'll all miss it. It's been gone for several weeks now.
Its voice was present this Memorial Day weekend, though. Sally, a retriever mix who barks her head off at Rodney (my Rodney) every weekend and of whom we're very fond, was there Sunday. This is their beach spot. Sally's person had marked the spot with a small American flag. It was a solitary marker, standing in the stead of that larger reminder, but it spoke as loudly.
I was thankful for solitary work being done for its own sake and for solitary work becoming less less so, as in this place. It used to be that writing a memoir or recollection, an autobiographical sketch or short story intended for any publisher who might be willing to accept it was lonely work, indeed. But here, where my voice is my own, the work is lightened by other writers, reading, calling out encouragement from their distances, implying interest by their very continued reading.
The water sparkled with diamond lights, the spilling oil kept its distance. Guana's other familiars like Sally and her person, and our friends Brian and Kathy, shared greetings and understanding, spoken and silent. The day did not end before those distant called greetings were heard: Michelle H., from the far north; Miss Jo from our own backyard, almost. And finally Mac, who started and ended the day with joy. Sleep well, everyone.