Once upon a time, I took comfort in this bit from Ecclesiastes: Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises… Of course, I now realize the earth will not remain forever. It depends on asteroids, nuclear bombs, and cosmic waste. Forever isn’t an option.
For every goddamn action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. I realize that attempting to inhabit impermanence is oxymoronic. But I can’t stop myself.
Mounted on a skittery horse, I navigate the slippery slopes of transience with a rope in my teeth trying to lasso the good moments and make them last. If my attention snaps the wrong direction, I could find myself swinging from the saddle horn. Depending on how badly this spooks the horse, my chances of climbing back on would be slim to none.
“Your metaphors aren’t working for me,” God says. “You don’t even like rodeos.”
I shrug and grin. “True. But you know what I like even less than rodeos?”
“I imagine I do since I’m God.”
Undaunted by the sarcasm, I continue. “I don’t like death or uncertainty or good things ending or rotten things continuing ad nauseum.”
“Well, blow me over with a feather,” God says.
“And I don’t like suffering or feeling inadequate. I don’t like making decisions or wasting time. I don’t like diseases or injuries, aging, accidents, robberies, lies, cruel jokes, or greasy food. I don’t like mediocrity, bullies, or vicious dogs.”
“Good to know,” God says, peering down at me. Like a hog rooting for grubs it seems I’ve dug myself a surprisingly deep hole. It’s easy to do in the spring mud.
“So hey, could you use a hand?” God asks.
This strikes me as condescending. I’ll climb out on my own when I’m good and ready.
In a mocking voice, I answer, “So hey, instead of you dragging me up, how about I make room for you to come down?”
“Sure,” God says, handing me a shovel. “I’ll get my boots. Want me to bring anything else?”
“Water,” I say, but I immediately regret it. God’s up to something.
Sure enough, the flood begins. The shovel becomes a floatation device. I’m lifted from the grave I was digging, and I kick myself to shore.
The water recedes. The sun shines.
“Still early,” God observes, squinting at the horizon. “Might be a good day to start some seedlings on the porch.”
“But I don’t even know if I’ll be around to harvest,” I pout, hoping for a guarantee.
“Doesn’t matter,” God says. “Plant.”