The day my father discovered Google he called and said, “Andrea, in a hundred years when the cans of green beans and baked beans and the cans of soup have all gone putrid, all the honey in the world will still be just like new!”
I adore knowing sweetness is eternal. I also adore knowing my father and I get equally excited about the greatest F word of all time—Forever.
A few years ago my housemate raced home from her job as a 2nd grade teacher and asked if I’d heard the news about the dinosaurs that had been found in the cliffs outside of town.
I responded with a one word question I have not been able to live down––“ALIVE??!!!” As if there was a very real chance a family of stegosaurus had ended their 66 million year hibernation and walked sleepy-eyed out of their caves following the scent of a hiker’s protein bar. My friend screamed with laughter contemplating how little I must have paid attention in elementary school. But it’s not that I didn’t pay attention, it’s that I’m wooed by possibility.
Have you heard of the backward-aging jellyfish who repeatedly escapes death by reversing its aging process? This glorious creature, Turritpsis, often called ‘The Benjamin Button of Jellyfish’, can shift from an adult back into a baby over and over again. “When starvation, physical damage, or other crises arise, instead of sure death, (Turritpsis) transforms all of its existing cells into a younger state.” If you could do this, would you? It’s one of my favorite questions to ask because even though I’ve spent much of my life afraid of death, my answer to that question has always been “NO.” When I feel into living forever, living sounds far less alluring. In my poem ‘Time Piece” I wrote:
No matter how it looks,
you and everyone you know
have hourglass figures.
Each breath, a falling
grain of sand.
To truly live is to see
right through the skin
to the avalanche.
If we never deny
the inevitable end
of the story,
we will write it
while we’re alive.
And that’s not to say I believe we end when we die. I don’t. Some years ago, I wrote, “I’m gonna run death like a stop sign and keep going.” Just a few weeks after telling me about the honey, my father called again and asked if I knew Steve Jobs said, ”WOW!” the instant before he died. My father was wowed by what that suggested about the other side. I’m not in the habit of asking Steve Jobs to teach me about infinity, but his ‘wow’ wowed me too. It still sends me running giddy into the question, “What did he see?! What was he seeing when he said ‘WOW’?!” Friends, what do you think he saw? Honey Bees building a golden heaven of honeycombs? Hikers summiting the back of a Brontosaurus? The entire universe, a jellyfish, becoming a baby again? Every single one of us returning home?
I’d love to read your answers in the comments.
Love, Andrea 🖤