This is a recital of a few events that occurred around the time my dear friend Jules discovered “A Year to Live” by Stephen Levine. The day she finished reading it she told me that all its content was mystically stirring to her, but that she was most enthralled by the notion of sending letters, either physically or cosmically, to those, either alive or dead, with whom you have unresolved issues.
Jules had no death sentence close at hand that she was aware of, and truly she was interested in a clean universal slate, but most strongly and immediately she desired to test the notion of cosmic letter-sending in general.
She felt within her a sense that the concept was workable, was true, although it was hard to tell how much of this sense was fueled by childhood stories of messages in bottles and how much was being received through the airwaves in real time. Certainly, movies like “Message in a Bottle,” with Costner and Robin Penn, did little to support a nonsubjective position.
But the overall feeling that grew on Jules after a week of pondering the concept, led to a fevered belief that she could speak letters into the wind and that those letters would hit their mark, would reach the hearts of their intended recipients, and be translated into an understanding. And she felt certain that the translation of her words would include her name, perhaps whispered, as a signature flourished in the air.
So very shortly after that week of pondering, she called me up very early one morning, overly excited. She’d finally decided on the recipient of her first letter to the wind, had composed it loosely in her head, and wanted me to come over that evening to be a witness to its dispatching to the airwaves.
You may detect a little tongue-in-cheek flavor in the way I’m writing about Jules, but it’s only an awkward attempt at objectivity. Perhaps I need to dispense with that and maybe I will, for the telling of this story, if I tell it all to you, promises to take a few writing sessions.
Truth is, I believe the same as Jules, basically, and was glad to oblige her a visit that evening. In fact, I’d like to share with you her first letter to the wind, for it went out on the breeze to a potential love of Jules’ and today is Valentine’s Day, which is what reminded me of Jules and this experience in the first place. I know that Jules wouldn’t mind.
I won’t write anything after the letter, for it would surely be malapropos, and perhaps I’ll return later with more. The first letter went something like this:
Ever since meeting you that day, I’ve thought of you off and on. I hear that you ask about me every now and again, as if bookmarking time, and I wonder if you think, because you never hear back, that I never think about you. I’m telling you now that I do.
Why do I want you to know that even though a continued story for us is unlikely? I suppose because I am grateful. You advanced me in many ways that day, and I feel that I did the same for you, too, and that is why you ask after me, and that is why I think of you. The human brain wants more from whence something good came, but the heart knows the truth of how life must unfold. To send word back might encourage you and my heart holds me back for reasons it knows. And I trust it.
In that sense, the purest, most distilled sense of love, I do think of you and care about you and know how valuable you are in the world.
Wind turbines snagged from http://photos.upi.com/story/w/fa8384d34362497e6d9f0ce14daa1381/US_Energy_Department_to_push_wind_power.jpg
I visited Floreta’s site on 2/12, did a little catching up on back posts, and commented on her “Learning to Love You More” post. In Floreta’s back posts was “Letters – Past” which affected me and must have been working in my head such that when I sat down today to write as an exercise, not originally intended to be a post, I found that the idea of “Letters – Past” had intermingled with my experience of reading Stephen Levine’s “A Year to Live.” That, in turn, must have got all balled up with this, from Floreta’s “Learning to Love You More” post: “The best art and writing is almost like an assignment; it is so vibrant that you feel compelled to make something in response. Suddenly it is clear what you have to do.” So if any of you enjoyed this post, thank Floreta for what compelled this.
More on “A Year to Live” here
More on the movie “Message in a Bottle” here