By Jack Oatmon, AKA Thomas Smith
The spring winds are pungent with the perfume of giggling lilacs and the chill, murky waters in the parks as well as the odorous smog and cigarette smoke of a busy city. My gritty brown eyes are shot with both the grating dust and nebulous clouds of pollen that the wind whirls through these streets, not to mention a few throttling tears. A thousand million little pods of potential life barrage the city, looking for organic purchase in a largely impotent landscape.
Us young folks are like those springtime paradoxes in the way that we can grow to be oaks and defy the most torrential storms, or get whisked into a gutter by the calmest breath. My head is shuddering with this simple axiom as I tread these dirty streets in search of a truth that will justify the self-evident, judicial tragedies of life and friendship.
Nor can I regret the whimsical fates that delivered such a vibrant plant into our garden, nor can I lament the turn that dashed that flower away or the wind that blows its memory into the sheen, for they are of the same force at work in different times. I can only thank the mysteries of a bittersweet life for their gifts and optimistically entertain them their brazen lessons.
Perhaps the most concise irony of this tumult is that our resistance to orthodoxy, which propels members of my generation to fly boundlessly and trust implicitly in their own mettle, also robs us of our faith in a utopian afterlife or an even-handed reckoning when we do chance to fall from our ivory pedestals. And so the rest are left alive with no better mourning inspiration than each other and the knowledge that our friend’s impact on us has been significant, lasting and beneficial. In that, we can only hope that someone’s life can continue on in this world through our everyday actions, as inspired by the conglomeration of experience they delivered us, for we fear we have no heaven to send them to.
And these cathartic musings of a young man are, too, but diminutive seeds floating unchecked on the wind; no one can say which might bear life and which will tumble to land on barren soil.
In loving memory of our friend Kristina Raymond. On t’aime pour toujours.
Photo by Élise Martin