November 3, 2020


So here I am, at fifty-six
Fifty-six? Grandpa's age when I was a kid (No grandkids yet, and that's fine)

As a kid, my birthday was
always overshadowed
by my (still) favorite holiday, Halloween

Costumes and candy and
grinning Jack o' lanterns
were first and foremost on my agenda

Only afterwards,
in the midst of a candy coma,
would I realize my birthday was nigh

These days my birthday
is just one of those days
in the dull lull after Halloween

(Though my wife gets me something,
and we usually go out for dinner)

But fall is (at least for me)
naturally melancholy
A time of reflection

I think of years past
and that ever-diminishing number
of years (days!) yet to come

Dad had a heart attack at sixty-five
Just nine more years? (No, not me!
He survived to almost eighty)

But I do think about it -
that terrifying time
when I will be no more

That terror so real
we refuse to face it,
pretending there's more to come

It would be comforting to believe
in some grand, eternal here-after
a sanctuary beyond death's reach

But I see no evidence
of a great here-after
only graveyards and urns

Of course, an omnipotent God
could easily conceal
such information from us

And, himself (itself?), be
beyond our reckoning
like the infinite universe

Still, I know the ways of Man
and can easily conceive that religion stemmed from that common terror

But beyond giving solace
religions have been used
to control and extort

As the late, great Neil Peart once
so pointedly put it, "I find no absolution
in my rational point of view."

So here I am, at fifty-six
No wiser about the end
and closer to it than ever

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