"Barbara and Roy Leave the Wolf Recovery Center"
Now it is autumn and the falling fruit
and the long journey towards oblivion.
The apples falling like great drops of dew
to bruise themselves an exit from themselves.
And it is time to go, to bid farewell
to one's own self, and find an exit
from the fallen self.
Have you built your ship of death, O have you?
O build your ship of death, for you will need it.
- D. H. Lawrence (d. 1930)
from "The Ship of Death"
These are my stoically determined parents in their late eighties. My mother, who suffers from dementia, is being led back to the car by my father, after having arrived too late to be admitted into a local wolf recovery center for a tour. Neither of them has a normal stride. My father mobilizes a prosthetic left leg he acquired after an accidental fall in a rock quarry during his teens; he also manages a right leg mangled during that fall, and his movements have somehow further accommodated two hip replacements during his senior years.
My mother has undergone three hip replacement procedures, and her declining motor coordination forces her to look down and watch her feet carefully as she goes. They remain inseparable to the end, "companions in shipwreck," which is how J.R.R. Tolkien described the final chapter of his own lifelong marriage. Onward.
TITLE -"Barbara and Roy Leave the Wolf Recovery Center"
WHERE - Laguna Mountains, California (2013)