It’s a typical rainy fall Saturday in the Northwest – nothing special. Gray, drizzly, leaves falling, a chill in the air. I was reminded of the scene that sets the final third of the movie “Love! Valour! Compassion!.
Gregory, writing in his journal. says: “Labor Day weekend, but already it feels like the end of summer. Perhaps the autumnal chill in the air is telling us this will be our last weekend. The lawns are brown, the garden is wilted, and soon it will be back to school.” I didn’t have a lot to do today, really anything to do to be honest. More or less an a day for “Il dolce far niente”, in Italian, “the sweetness of doing nothing.” But the autumnal chill, and grey skies has me down.
I generally love Fall – time for cooler weather (although we had the coolest summer I can ever remember in the 21 years I’ve been here), time for sweaters, and long sleeve shirts, crisp air, changing and falling leaves, and the smell of burning firewood. It’s the end of summer, and riding season on the bike – and in many ways, the end of a lot more. And this year more than any Fall in memory, I’m feeling a sense of loss.
It was a year ago today that my dog Abbey, my sweetheart, died suddenly. I still miss her very much. My mother tells me that my Grandmother is fading by the day, and I’m reminded that soon her light will go out, and that will be a sad day for me. It’s been two year since Tony and I split up, and I’m missing the companionship of someone special. Friends are drifting and changing like the fall leaves as well, finding new loves or moving away. It’s election season, the start of a new two-year legislature, and I wonder if it’s my last. And I can’t help but wonder I’ll soon be losing more friends and family over things I cannot stand by and just “let it go” anymore.
This past weekend the Mormon Church in which I was raised had their semi-annual conference. One sermon in particular has raised a lot ire, both inside and outside the church. I was excommunicated from the church because of who I am, and unrepentant about it – it didn’t matter to me, I don’t believe the doctrine anyway. However my immediate family, except for my brother, are all devout followers of the Church, as are many of my friends. They have been – better than many members of the Church – very accepting of who I am. They know me, they love me, they accept I am who I am, and they accepted Tony when we were together, and still love him today even though we are apart. I’m rather fortunate as so many of my gay friends who grew up in the Church have lost family and friends to intolerance and rejection. It was preached in this sermon, for all of the Church and the world to hear that we are “impure”, “unnatural”, “evil”, that my family is illegitimate and a threat to all families. That you can’t pass laws to make it “OK”, no more than you can pass a law to change gravity.
It saddens me greatly to hear such words, and I want to ask my family and my friends in the church to look into their hearts – and replace the anonymous in the sermon with me. I want to ask them if they honestly believe that I am “impure”, that I am evil, unnatural, and ,my family is illegitimate and a threat to their family? I have to believe that the answer to that would be “no”. But answering that question forces them to confront what exactly the Church is preaching. It puts what they know in their heart at conflict with what they are told by some feeble ancient man is from God. It puts a conflict that is quietly, almost akin to “Don’t’ Ask Don’t Tell”, out on the table again. And it also forces me to ask the question, do I want to have in my life people who would answer those questions in the affirmative – that I am a threat, that I am evil, that I am impure. I’m nearing fifty years old. Do I have room in my life for people that would answer that question with a “yes”, because the “Church said so”. Do I even dare ask the question? Both of them and of myself? It would be like asking them to choose "me" or the Church, and I know who they would choose. What would I accomplish by this in the big scheme of things? Nothing. These are the people in my life that are closest to me. Will this fall bring even more loss?
Later in the movie L-V-C, Gregory, a choreographer, goes on to write in his journal – “I keep telling people the new piece is nearly finished, but the truth is I haven’t begun. Maybe it isn’t meant to be.” Another summer has gone by and I didn’t make much headway on my writing career – hell, I’ve not put anything up on here in more than a month. I start things, I have lists of ideas to write on, but I just don’t get started. My mind wanders, and I can’t find the energy. My previous post a month ago talked about creative ideas I want to move towards – but aside from a few pictures, nothing has come. It’s not for a lack of time, it’s from a lack of…I don’t know. But I’ve let it slip for whatever reason.
I thought about this post all day and finally drove myself to Starbucks on Alki Beach, where I sit looking out at the rain and I force myself to write this. Like Gregory, I tell folks my writing is coming along – but it isn’t. All my ideas, all my plans, my goals, are still up here in my head. I’ve let another year go by and not moved any closer to making them real.
It’s been a gray, drizzly fall day – the end of summer. The end of letting thing go unchallenged. The end of leaving my dreams and goals locked in my head, and the end of not trying.