Cool Autumn is here. It has followed, as ever it does, Summer, and this year’s summer was pretty darn special. Plenty of rain and very little oppressive heat made it “the mildest summer ever” – an affirmation I’ve made use of two years running. Aren’t I powerful? If you’ve enjoyed the respite, clearly you have me to thank!
The summer suspended me in a very uncomfortable “holding pattern,” circling I knew not what, unable to land. My companions for the season – a very slow one for me work-wise – have been music, crosswords, and the fantasy books of T.A. Barron about Merlin, the famed wizard of Avalon, toward whom I’ve been drawn for some twenty years and about whom I’ve read in many authors’ books (Mary Stuart’s immediately come to mind). Barron’s books, though, have touched me uniquely. Endorsed by a literary icon, the deeply spiritual Madeline L’Engle, Barron’s stories express his own clear and deep love for life and natural beauty. This, plus his abiding desire for partnership and communion among human beings, runs through his many wise and wonderful stories.
Found in the Y/A (Young Adult) section of the library, the tales are surely for older readers just as much as for the younger, malleable set, especially because we may have become, by now, hopeless and despairing of ever experiencing what Barron himself longs for, and what is called in his books, The Society of the Whole, a somewhat religious movement (religious in the highest and best use of the term) birthed by Merlin’s mother, Elen, to promote and create peace and harmony among all races, and to care for the “Great Tree” (in our case, Earth).
Reading Barron’s books (which should be read in order) has not only kept me more or less sane this summer, but has been the unanticipated spiritual container I’ve needed in order to escape the lack of busy-ness and income, and the unexpected boredom. At the same time, the books have kept me present to my personal Great Tree’s inner roots. Let’s say it’s been a summer of deep work, companioned by the power of a great, humble, and powerful Wizard.
When I was at Lowe’s Foods a few days ago, and here’s where I’m starting to get to the reason for this essay, I spied a middle-of-the-aisle display of CDs that had been reduced from a hefty $5 to a paltry $2.50. Unable to resist, I scanned the artists. Not interested. Then, in the bottom left corner, I saw Paul McCartney’s Memory Almost Full. Having been a John fan, I stood there debating with myself, but since Sir Paul’s been the one to make it to “old age” still rockin’ (or perhaps “pop”-in), I decided to take him home with me. It took me a couple of days to get the subtle message of the album’s name, which finally came to me when I heard the one truly grand jewel. This Hope Diamond of the two disc set is entitled The End of the End and is about the end of life. Arguably the best song he’s ever written, it is certainly the most mature poetically. Paul has always written simply, and simple songs can be deceptively anything but: “At the end of the end, it’s the start of a journey to a much better place – and this wasn’t bad – so a much better place would have to be special, no need to be sad.” From here, the poetry deepens, so it’s time for me to stop writing so you can listen: The End of the End
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