Old man


God stopped by the other day. He’s gained some weight and acquired a limp, but his mind was as sharp as ever.

We sat on the tailgate of the silver pick-up, swinging our legs, watching the sand hill cranes. I mentioned the possibility that he could help out with things around here. There’s a lot left to do.

He was a good sport and tried to chop some wood, but it was too much for him. He got winded, and rubbed his chest in an alarming way. Honestly, I couldn’t even justify paying him minimum wage. He didn’t seem interested in the salary anyway. He sat back down on a nearby stump, stroked his white goatee, and stared out into space, attentive, like he was hearing something I couldn’t hear.

I got him a snack. He chewed with his mouth open, and examined the contents on the package. “I have a touch of diverticulitis,” he said, smiling. “I shouldn’t eat things with seeds. But sometimes I cheat a little.”

Even with his large belly, his posture was regal. He moved with slow grace, scratching himself thoughtfully. “Bug bites.” He caught my look and added, “They have a purpose.”

I shook my head. “You could’ve done better. You could’ve skipped bugs. And childbirth. Even we lowly humans invented zippers. What’s with that?”

This was old terrain. He glanced me into silence. Typical male. I decided to wait on this topic until he reappears as the large black woman with the soft, yielding lap. She has birthed me with ease, over and over. I trust her explanations more than I trust myself—for good reason. She’s saved my life a couple of times.

God interrupted my reverie. “Got my license to pack,” he said. “Need to buy a loose jacket and one of those fancy ankle straps. Might want to carry two.”

“Great,” I said. “That’s just great. Congratulations. You moving to Montana permanently?”

“Nah,” he said. “But when in Rome…”


Well, what do you know? Here’s God again. She’s bent over, tending flower beds on a sleepy side street in the city. A half-block away, I notice a big-boned mother with twin sons. She is struggling down the sidewalk towards God. One of the boys is angry. He bites his blanket and yowls. The big-boned mother wants to slap the red, contorted face of this defiant son, but God and I are watching. It’s harder to slap your child around with an audience. In this suspended moment, we are joined by a lovely blond girl with perfect skin and a clingy peach-colored dress. Her breasts and butt wobble. She is so sensuous even the little boys are entranced. She appears to be walking her dog, but I think, “No. She is some kind of angel and that’s not a real dog.”

I make eye contact with God. God winks, the frame freezes, and suddenly, I am alone.

I am fully, completely, alone. I am so alone my front teeth feel unfamiliar to my tongue. The light around me is metallic and cold. There isn’t much left of my body. This makes me nostalgic. Sad. My eyes, still in my head, fill with salt water. Warm, oceanic water. I want to float, weightless in this water. The big-boned mother has come back for me. I don’t want to go.

6 thoughts on “Dualities

  1. Hi Rita! I’m John, Kate’s husband in Ithaca. Thank you so much for “going public”. Is your courage contagious? Aaahh, unless I look away quickly, I may be a susceptible host. Well, I’m following your blog anyway : )


  2. The older I get, the more frequently I long for that sense of grace I find in your writings Rita. Yesterday while tramping through new wet snow in the woods behind my house, I felt God wishing me peace in an enormous old white pine, standing black against the brilliant white snow. Trees speak to me a lot these days of grace, their thoughts sent so quickly into my own consciousness that I feel as if they have always been my elders. From the first day a stately old ponderosa pine spoke to me along the Bitterroot river till now, I often meet God in the silence of their presence. Blessings on this last day of 2016. Jeannie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Jeannie, thanks and YES. If there is a God, HE/SHE is not limited to any form and can express love through any medium. Everything about the Creator is so intimate, so gargantuan, so….that it is both comforting and terrifying. Blessings to you, too. In whatever form you need them. Peace, Rita


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