Four years ago my cousin Paul suddenly died. The details of Paul’s death are there somewhere in the medical and akashic archives but those are not what came to mind today when I thought of him. It was the blue in his eyes that blended so beautifully with the ocean of twinkling shards of light, and which gave him a handsomeness the kind that announces there is joy in one’s soul.
He had our grandmother Anna’s eyes. And so it’s not a big leap for me to be thinking of them simultaneously. They are the keepers of joy, those who have eyes like Paul and Anna. Their memory remains vivid as salt water air and their love of life as infinitely deep as one is born to know.
I grew up I say, mostly on a beach, at a time before we knew it was dangerous to be out in the sun without sunglasses or sunscreen made specifically to prevent that copper-tone tan. Before “Jaws” took the collective big bite out of our innocence and fearlessness of water we couldn’t see the bottom of. Now it’s late August and the cicadas are rocking like Woodstock out my DC windows, and I am thinking of the Long Island sand and waves that are a part of what made me love life and the simple hours, where the most important things to do were to find a pretty shell that wasn’t broken off like a chipped tooth, or scoop up a sand crab underneath one of the endless clusters of blisterlike bubbles that popped up from beneath without ever making sounds. All that commotion of air current and nary a peep was a wonder. As were the crabs who scuttled so quickly on such tiny toes I hardly could catch a glimpse before they vanished.
Where did the summer fly to, one usually asks when Labor Day is nearing. For those who are lucky enough to have grown up on the beach it becomes especially tough to reconcile the memories as so many of the days look and feel as repetitive as the ebb and flow of the surf. More easily are the thoughts of people — who we got to visit on our vacation, who we’ll have to catch on next summer’s trips, and who wasn’t with us this year except in spirit. That’s what is on my mind this morning as I think of my sweet cousin Paul. His memory is a blessing especially in this simple hour of waning summer.
On Paul’s mass card were the words to John Lennon’s song “Imagine” as those reflected most purely what was in Paul’s heart. Imagine, just imagine in the time it takes for a new wave to form, all people living life in peace. That thought doesn’t require one to be a dreamer. Just a peacemaker who lives as one.
— Giselle M. Massi © August 20, 2009