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The scene was overwhelming: Herringboned clouds bleached blueness, overhead; centuries-old oaks, freshly leafed, shaded the rolling hills, the grass resembling grown-out buzz cuts of new recruits; asphalt roads serpentined among clearly marked plots filled with the remains of women and men who had served our country in combat or peacetime. Thousands of American flags cast a pink glow upon the white oval faces of the headstones, resembling gothic doorways of ancient monks.

Cars inched around turns with tent-covered lemonade stands, with groundskeepers welcoming visitors and helping with directions. Children in T-shirts and shorts walked Indian-style behind their parents, holding pots of flowers. A heavyset lone senior leaned on her cane while scanning the row of headstones for her loved one.

It was Memorial Day, the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri, and my first visit to this historic site.

I weep with those who weep.

At 6:30 A.M., I woke with this curious dream:

I am angry with the Swiss psychologist, Dr. C. G. Jung. All fired up, I prepare a paper with my disgruntlement, then reserve a conference room for my audience. I also make posters, handouts—anything to carry my message. The evening for the presentation arrives. To my chagrin, behind me rushes a very young Dr. Jung wearing a sparkling gold bodysuit that delineates his bearded face, musculature, even his genitals. He does not see me. Enthusiasts escort him to another conference room. I feel wilted.

In the dream, I am my present age, but healthy and hopping mad at the Swiss psychologist, Dr. C. G. Jung—No matter my having entered Jungian analysis in 1988 with a Zurich-trained analyst that initiated the quest toward authentic self-hood. Having been helped so much, why the projection of anger toward Jung, the retaliation?

Perhaps this behavior conceals an older one of impetuous thinking/action when riled up? Before embracing Twelve-Step recovery, this was my modus operando; it can still emerge.

Yet, the image of Dr. Jung wearing the sparkling gold bodysuit that delineates his bearded face, musculature, even his genitals did remind me of the Oscar statues awarded recently by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences for last year’s nominees. True, this year’s multiple winner, Nomadland, appears a must-see. But in my perception, the film industry, whether for theater or television, has collapsed its output within the sick culture that surrounds us: its values, eroded, its vision, clouded or nonexistent.

For those aware of this bankruptcy, grief smarts the edges of life. For such soul sicknesses, many sought dream analysis with Dr. C. G. Jung. Certainly, I have benefited as my life continues emptying like sands in the hourglass, one grain at a time. There’s no going back …

Wind-besotted rains knocked white petals from the Bradford pear tree across the street and patterned the new grass with curlicues. Nearby, browning blossoms from magnolia trees cluster in piles along the plank fence and upon the patio furniture. Daffodils along the road, once trumpeters of spring’s surprise, resemble pinched cheeks of dowagers still intent upon preening in the sun for the kiss of youth.

However, with colors fading comes disintegration, then melding into the earth; its “Ah!” gets lodged within memory. There will be another spring, I used to say, soothing my grief and anticipating the flowering of summer’s riotous colors—just a matter of time.

So time is the culprit disrobing natural beauty of its window into the Sacred. Tinges of sadness emerge. No one knows if they will see another spring. Photos can freeze that fleeting glance, but it’s not the same. Gone is the energy. 

Such awareness begs for acceptance. Especially is this true for my terminal illness like a deadly insect slowly devouring my lungs. Yet, with my helpers, I still groom and dress myself as if I’ve a full day of errands to run. Another friend styles my silver hair. 

So like the single cluster of pear blossoms on the tree, I’m still here, waiting until nudged elsewhere.

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