Friday, September 26, 2008


Anu Garg's word for the day ( is "isthmus"

He presents this quotation:

"As a young man [Nathaniel] Hawthorne had been a recluse. His gift of vision made him different, as he walked an isthmus between time and eternity." (Patrick J. Walsh; Hawthorne's God; Weekly Standard (Washington, DC); Jan 2, 2006.)

As I prepare to leave two days from now for a trip to Oregon and then California, during which time I will be visiting old friends and RTN's grave, I have to smile at the synchronicity in the appearance of the word "isthmus" on A.Word.A.Day today.

A few days ago, Anu Garg's word was "shoal" and included the above photograph. When I looked at the photograph, I thought, "Isthmus."

In April, two days before I drove to California to be with RTN for what was to be the last time, I engaged in a 20-minute meditation, using music and silence, during a counseling session. My mind became very quiet. Then something in my mind spoke the word "isthmus." My next thought was "The Isthmus of Panama." The experience was much like the series of brief early morning "word dreams" I had in the first days after RTN died, when I heard the words "Shore," "Understand," "Send Love," and "Beep-Beep!"

While I was spending time with RTN in the intensive care unit, I had a conversation with one of the many VA hospital nurses who took such good care of RTN. The daughter of an American man working in Panama, she had been born there and had lived and worked all over the world. I told her about my experience in the counseling session. We talked at length. I told her that I had to drive back to Washington on the following day. She said, "He is going to miss you." I said, "It is very difficult for me to leave him." I didn't know that he was going to die a week after I left.

It feels auspicious to come across the word "isthmus" again.

". . . he walked an isthmus between time and eternity."


Dale said...

Hey, if you come through Portland, let me buy you lunch (or breakfast or dinner, as appropriate.)

Loren said...

Have a good trip, am.

robin andrea said...

Have a safe journey. If you are in Santa Cruz, drop us a note. Perhaps we could meet.

am said...

dale -- Thanks for the kind invitation. Am a genuinely shy and introverted woman. Not yet ready to meet blog friends in person.

loren -- Deeply appreciate your presence and good wishes.

robin andrea -- Thanks so much, too, for thinking of me and extending an invitation to meet. Not yet ready . . .

Dale said...

Oh, I'm genuinely shy & introverted too. But not so much, with people I've been sharing art & poetry with for years :-) I've "met" a number of blog friends, now, and they've all been every bit as wonderful as I expected.

But of course, all in good time, and not every trip is suited to that sort of thing.

You've given me so much encouragement, so many lovely and perceptive comments, and you've shared so many beautiful things here, that I feel I know you much better than, say, the people I work with. But I'll be content with typing "hugs, Am!" for now :-)