This I Believe

Ben - Oakland, California
Entered on December 27, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: afterlife, change

i believe in perrrmanence.

it starts for me with this idea that matter cannot be created or destroyed. i like that thought, it makes sense to me: matter, say, a rock, can be modified but it’s never truly gone. you crush the rock you get pebbles, crush the pebbles you get sand. melt the sand you get glass. split the atoms – you…end a war and begin a march to our ultimate, uh, “modification”.

but i don’t fear the bomb, and i assure my daughter she shouldn’t either. i preach perrrmanence, starting with the rock. i tell her there’s a whole heck of a lot of stuff that makes me me, that makes her her, that made her great grandmother “mum”. i tell her we don’t have time enough to list all the stuff that makes us us, and really there’s no need. i tell her the point is you can reee-fashion us, but we’ll never go away.

i – hoped she had some sense of this as we released mum’s ashes into the bay, under the golden gate, lit by the sun, blown by the wind, near the spot mum once danced on the deck of the boat with my grandfather bill. i hoped my daughter had a sense that the golden gate will rust, will fall, but what makes it now will remain. the sun will burn out some day but only because its energy was absorbed by everything around it. the wind will dissipate under the gate but only because it’s moved on to the valley.

and mum and bill will dance again. and this is why: perrrmanence. if all there is is all there ever has been and all there ever will be then time is but a measurement but not truly a thing. and no time means that in the craps game of life i get an infinite roll of the dice. if you give me enough rolls of the dice, eventually i’m gonna hit snake eyes. based on this i say everything that made mum mum, that made bill bill, that makes us us, will change, really always was changing, but eventually it’s coming back together again. i’ll hold mum’s hand again, we’ll share a beer again, we’ll play scrabble again. we’ll sail the bay again. it’s all coming back because the pieces never left.

my daughter asked me the other morning what was the name of mum and bill’s boat. i told her the truth: “forever”. she smiled and asked what was the name of the dinghy. i told her: “and ever”. then i kissed her forehead and whispered into her ear, “they believed in permanence too honey…they believed in perrrmanence…”