For What Ails You: “A Crush of Old Sweetness”

It’s so simple it’s complex. I mean feeling a wave of warmth and happiness in our times of great upheaval, unhappiness, and division.

Oh, we’ve got the negatives down. Many have complained they’re living in one of Dante’s Circles of Hell: disillusionment, helplessness, the vague sense of unease and dread.

Mostly, though, it’s the lack of light at the end of the tunnel we call “world events.” Sure, we’ve been in tunnels before, but not this dark. Or so we tell ourselves.

But getting back to warmth and happiness. You can meditate. Do the self Reiki treatment. Eat comfort food till your aggrieved pants go online to order the next size up while you’re sleeping.

You can stop reading news, too. It truly compounds the teeming negativity, especially if you live in the U.S. where the old “leader” who wants to be a new one specializes in dividing houses. I think of poor Abraham Lincoln, set Joe DiMaggio aside, and sing, “Where have you gone, old Abe Lincoln (oh!), a nation turns its lonely eyes to you… woo, woo, woo.”

So what, then, Ken?

OK. Back to the complexity in simplicity. I read Rosie King’s “Again” and said to myself, “My God, it’s so simple it escapes us. Especially now. In fact, most will insist such moments aren’t even available to us anymore. The stupid little things, I mean. The ones that have trouble translating. The ones that beg the cliché, ‘You had to be there’ when you repeat them.”

What think you, distressed reader? Here’s Rosie’s poem:


Rosie King

I’m on my knees among the crisp brown crunch
then stand         in time to see
two boys         slim teens in shorts         white t-shirts
faces glowing         talking quietly
bounce of a tennis ball fading as they pass
and I’m filled again
with a crush of old sweetness
at how giving a moment can be as it vanishes
the roughened grey branches of the pear
small knobby fingers flung out at every tip
fresh clutch of weeds at my chest


Are you buying this “crush of old sweetness”? Are the moments still out there for the harvesting — ones as “giving” as this one — or is such truck only for special people like Rosie?

Often it’s a question of perspective. With age comes unique angles on the past. An older person might overhear two teens passing while talking and bouncing a ball and that’s all it takes to send them back, back to a time when bubbles of moment were as simple and effective as you and a friend shooting the breeze. Friendship was the world at back then, a world constructed of of unapologetic happiness, a world at large that was as small as your own individual circles.

Face it. As you age, you grow more jaded. Moments like these grow more stubborn and vanish every second. They’re so damn unassuming, you almost feel like you have to be atop Cold Mountain with Hanshan and a full moon to catch them.

I don’t know. Maybe now’s a good time to hike the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest. Something that takes a long time to accomplish. Something that lends itself to being alone in the Wilderness of Virus-less Eden with a few beloved friends or family members.

Something far from the madding crowd with its signs, guns, and protesting pitchforks outside state capitol buildings.

Yeah, that’s it — like the house undivided days. Again.