Saturday, May 15, 2010

Death Days

So, I don't know what it is about birthdays that compel my attention. Well, yes I do. Rather satisfying is the notion of a discrete chunk of data, a tidy time/space intersection representing the beginning of an individual earthly incarnation. The gun going off at the starting gate. Out of the realm of spirit, the animal, amniotic darkness and into the noisy light, an adventure embarked upon. January 17, 1706/Boston, Mass. (Benj. Franklin) February 7, 1867/Pepin, Wisconsin. (Laura Ingalls W.) According to today marks the beginnings of the lives of brooch-wearing, savvy diplomat Madeleine Albright (Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1937), author L. Frank Baum (Chittenango, NY, 1856), and debonair actor, Joseph Cotten (Petersburg, VA, 1905). To name a few. And think of the legions, the multitudes of long-gone lives that began on countless other Middles of May. And according to Wikipedia, today marks the foundings of the National Woman's Suffrage Assoc. (by way of their godmothers S. B. Anthony & E. C. Stanton, 1869) and the city of Las Vegas, NV. And Mickey Mouse appeared in his 1st cartoon, by way of his godfather, Walter Disney.
At the end of one's shelf of days is that other bookend, doncha know. It's been seven years now since June Carter Cash crossed over the River and waited there a while until John came along so they could enter heaven's gates, hand in hand. That's how the song went anyway. Today's Emily Dickinson's deathday. You can find - and I hope you will - a splendid essay, a reverie written about her at Death kindly stopped for the white-clad poet in her 55th year. She & her failed kidneys were waiting for him [her? Dang! WHY is there no androgynous pronoun, for crying out loud?] at the intersection of 15 May, 1884/Amherst, Mass. And, oh my goodness, this guy – what a story! The adventurous, tormented, and remarkable life of Edmund Kean, said to have been one of the most remarkable of actors, came to an end on this day in 1833. Okay. I have to go to the library now and learn more about this guy. Go thou & do likewise.

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