My friend and mentor is dying. I went to see him today at the Hospice Center, knowing that his death will come very soon. He was unresponsive. I have read that hearing is the last sense to go, so I talked to him and read one of my favorite poems to him.
His birthday is in another week so I read Dylan Thomas's Poem in October. I remember how this poem touched something deep inside me when I first read it years ago. It has been a poem for me to gauge the passing of my years. My thirtieth year to heaven is long gone but these words still ring true:
"My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
And walked abroad in shower of all my days...."
Sitting next to my friend and watching his breathing in and out, made me think about what lies beyond death. I told him that I would see him on the other side. I don't know what the other side will be, but I know what I would like it to be. It would be what I experienced this week on the boat.
My ideal would be to see the sun rise over the ocean, as it pushed back the night and painted the sea with silver and gold, shimmering like diamonds on the surface. The way it flooded the dunes with an ambient magical light that was warm and beautiful, bouncing off the clouds. I watched the dolphins cruise by and the seagulls fly overhead. I watched the formations of pelicans soar on the thermal air currents as they flew in front of the waves. I watched the dogs run through the surf wagging their tails and admired the reflection of the vast sky overhead in the tidal pools. I admired the way the clouds changed color as the sun rose and how they drifted over the sea slowly and languidly changing shape and form. I listened to the birds singing in the trees and marveled at how many wildflowers were blooming and how they covered the dunes. I was uplifted to see the butterflies migrate down the beach, and the sound of crickets was music to my soul. I appreciated life at the moment because it was beautiful and meaningful to me.
So I don't know what Heaven looks like and do not deny or accept how others see it. But when I looked around and above this morning and felt the experience I had right then in that moment, the peace it gave me, I believe I saw my Heaven all around me.