I have looked death in the eyes few times. For others but also for myself. I have been often told that there’s no God and no afterlife, but folllowing my encounters with death I guess I am too convinced of the contrary to listen to those sceptic voices. I do respect what other people think, but respecting others will never reduce my beliefs to nothing, on the contrary.
Most of the people have an absolutely disgusted look on their face when they hear about death. Some venerate it. Some fear it to the extent that they don’t even want to think about it. We’re all aware it exists. Most of us cannot understand it. But the same death that means decay, foulness, nothingness and still, is part of us just as much as it has been part of our ancestors too.
People turn their face away from death because they are scared or because they have been taught that it can bring disease or that it is unclean. Or because they prefer to concentrate on the life, rather than see the whole process, black and white, doing and undoing, life, death and new life again. For the immediate you and me, what matters is today, what we do, what we have, what we eat, where we go. But we live in a society that is equally one of death as much of one of life, isn’t it? Or maybe even more one of death than one of life? We eat meat, we cut flowers, people hunt, people get cremated and buried or offer their bodies to science. People sell weapons and wars are being fought. Some people thrive while others starve to death.
There is not only the beauty and goodness daily put on display for sales targets, but also the reverse side of it all. There are not only new born babies and blooming flowers, but also dead people laid to rest and entire systems that revolve around death itself. From the undertakers that earn a fortune while dealing with grieving families to the little beetles that eat decaying flesh, all have a little part in it.
Some of the birds that have nested last year have died, and a suite of insects and plants contribute now to taking apart and redistributing every material atom of them. Every little creature and plant that dies gets quickly surrounded by a cortege of creatures, just like a circus that comes to town and gets very busy before the show. Behind the scenes of it all nothing gets saved or lost, but everything is transformed in new matter for life, and so new life can find the raw minerals needed for it to emerge again.
Many years ago, as I was dealing with the water that was trying to find its way into my lungs, I had forgotten who I was or what I wanted from life. What I had eaten that morning or what I had in my bank account had no meaning at all. It was all worthless and the only thing I could gasp for was a breath of air. I was, I guess, not different than a wounded bird that beats its wings one more time before it takes a last breath. A little part of me knew that it could have been the final moment that day. And yes, it was scary. Scary because I had no idea what was about to happen. Horribly scary because I had no control over my own life. There and then I was not ready to give up. Between few heartbeats and a hope for air it occurred to me that I had not appreciated life truly until then. And God how I wanted to live!
In a mysterious way, a hand has been stretched my way. Not only a friendly material hand, but also a divine one. Then, when I finished coughing, with a horrible salty aftertaste and a stomach full of seawater, feeling sick and wet, I thought that it was not the time to go just yet, not until I would have learned the lesson of what life was all about. I think I was determined to take life more seriously.
I think I understand life and death more now, but like any person that has been sightless for many years, I am now awfully blinded by the intense light of the truth. That moment of salvation, the spark of life in my veins and the thought that accompanied them cannot be the result of an evolutionist theory, they are rather a mystery that my human mind is not ready to embrace just yet.
Other creatures are unaware of the realities of our human life. Birds and animals and plants cannot understand our complicated life and needs, our food, our languages, our customs. They do not consider themselves the greatest in the universe like we do. They have no idea what mathematics or science are, yet they are very much alive and lead a simple happy life. There are a limited number of neurons in our skulls, how could they possibly perceive the infinity of the universe? It is impossible. I am convinced that us humans cannot understand the whole complexity of life, all the dimensions that surround us, all the beauties of the universe and even less the mystery and greatness of the Creator of it all.
900 words, Adela Galasiu, 2016
Photography: Adela Galasiu, May 2016
defrosting (syn)apses and dreams.
in renewed life
from the ancient mud.
Leaves waltz stormy with the light
Bees rest tired feet for a spell
before conquering another petal.
Sit and listen.
be humble. be grateful.
you are. now. alive.
45 words, Adela Galasiu, May 2016
Photography: Adela Galasiu , April-May 2016
Outside your glass walls,
You can hear my world’s calls,
But if you look inside you’ll see
A difference between you and me.
Airborne, fireflies reach my sky
Prisoner, your heart wonders why
Nailed to the ground it can’t simply be free
Without a difference, just like me.
You may belong to a paralel world
Where winter’s scorching, summer’s cold
And the reflection’s a bit duller
Than the innitial vivid colour.
Reach out your finger, come and touch
A world of wonder named as such.
Yet if you break it, it won’t be
Just as amazed as you with me.
100 words, memyselfandela / Adela Galasiu, 2015
From the heart, to all my dear readers and bloggers, a Happy New Year full of joy, success and happiness! 🙂 And happy reading!
“Yes, It isn’t always wise to say
that the muses get silent among weapons..
My words are here and I hold them
as you would hold a spear.
Mother, forgive me, I couldn’t otherwise.
I know you’ve been quiet all life
and I should have , maybe, done the same
but out of our silence
a scream had to gush oneday
and here it is, filling up my mouth with hope and tears
and with a sunny sadness
that is mine, I’m not sure,
mine or my grave’s. But
this has almost
no more importance at all.”
Octavian Paler, Poems
“Da, nu e întotdeauna o înţelepciune să spui
că muzele tac între arme.
Cuvintele mele sunt aici şi le strâng
ca pe o lance.
Mamă, iartă-mă, nu puteam altfel.
Ştiu, tu ai tăcut toată viaţa
şi ar fi trebuit şi eu să fac, poate, la fel,
dar trebuia odată ca din tăcerea noastră
să ţâşnească un strigăt
şi, iată-l, îmi umple gura de speranţă şi lacrimi
şi de o tristeţe însorită
ce-mi aparţine, nu mai ştiu,
mie sau mormântului meu. Dar
aceasta aproape nu mai are
nicio importanţă. “
Octavian Paler, Poeme
Translation: Adela Galasiu
Motto: “How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.” Virginia Woolf, The Waves
Peace in a distance,
Overwhelming and grand,
My spirit cannot touch it.
I have drowned my words in the blue
In the green and darkness.
Isn’t silence better?
Smashing restless against the walls of my soul,
Photos: Adela Galasiu, 2014
39 words, memyselfandela, 2014
Yesterday lovely Nicola Humphries, BBC producer and wonderful woman with a big heart, has given me the opportunity to tell a story.
It has all started with my beloved Rhapsody in Blue and Gershwin, but for me this represents the tip of my soul iceberg. I have dived very deep in my past to the times when I was a happy child. I have spoken about life in the Communism, oppression, the tragic death of my father which has coincided with the beginning of the Romanian Revolution on the 22 of December 1989. I have tried to describe life as it was, but time was short and words don’t come always easy. I have had moments when my mind has frozen and when I could not find my words as in the back of my eyes I have kept my tears, because I cannot get back in some moments in time without feeling again all that intense pain.
I am in love with music because it has always been for me a gate to freedom and a window of hope in the darkest moments. I have remembered the most intense moments that I have lived and witnessed, the blood on the streets of Sibiu, the fear when people were shot, the agony of not knowing what was happening with my father when he did not come back home, the death striking my family when we have least expected, the love and the absolute loss.
I may be different than other people given the intensity of situations that I have lived, things that could have made other people get insane. I have been through things that normally do not happen to other people. Those have been moments that have not destroyed me, but made me stronger. This is one of the reasons why I write and I have started my blog. I believe that despite all pain, beyond all loss, life is both a path and a fight. We can all create a better path and win our battle. I truly believe that none of us should give up, that we should all have peace of mind and hope in our heart for the day to come. I believe it because I have been myself on the edge of despair and I have looked into the abyss of depression many times in my life.
As I came out of the BBC I have entered the Church of All Souls. I believe nothing is accidental. I have been not given the chance to speak about me alone, but the chance to recall and mention my mother, my father, my love, my loss, my hope. Maybe it was a way of setting myself free and closing a deep pain of the past, a bleeding succession of losses that I have lived with for a long time.
500 words, memyselfandela, February 2014
Photos: Adela Galasiu, February 2014
Many thanks to wonderful Nicola Humphries and BBC 4, Soul Music.