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How An Atheist Gets To Heaven…

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Rejoice… Heaven exists!

I’ll bet you didn’t expect that from me, right?

Yes, there is a heaven, a place where we’d like to exist eternally … for the believers – the Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists et al… AND even us atheists too!

…….

(WIKIPEDIA: “Heaven is often described as a “highest place”, the holiest place, a Paradise, in contrast to hell or the Underworld or the “low places” and universally or conditionally accessible by earthly beings according to various standards of divinity, goodness, piety, faith, or other virtues or right beliefs or simply divine will. Some believe in the possibility of a heaven on Earth in a world to come.”)

…….

You likely have your own vision of heaven, and I hope you are, or will, get there… in my head and heart, spring is unassailably a synonym for what I conceive as heaven.

Spring – a spiritual moment, a world, I never want to leave.

Spring – my forever place.

Spring must have fine things
To wear like other springs.
Of silken green the grass must be
Embroidered. One and two and three.
Then every crocus must be made
So subtly as to seem afraid
Of lifting colour from the ground;
And after crocuses the round
Heads of tulips, and all the fair
Intricate garb that Spring will wear.
(Hazel Hall)

If a year taken by season was a musical LP record, then these past two weeks have been nature’s most beautiful love song with frills and beauty akin to what Antonio Vivaldi bowed his violin to centuries ago in his Four Seasons.

To saunter down my rural Okanagan road in the early evening sunshine with its long shadows brings a clear understanding of fierce hunger in a fine Italian cook’s kitchen…

… to be assailed by May’s potpourri of delectable scents… first the lilacs, next the lily-of-the-valley, finally the sweet mixture of blushing apple and plum blossoms.

Flickers and robins, red-winged blackbirds, white-crowned sparrows and goldfinches, provide the musical choir… spring’s Hallelujah Chorus.

A blind person need never see a bird in flight, nor bloom in their lifetime, to revel in the symphonic and aromatic air.

My wife Maureen’s childhood home surrounded by multi-toned lilacs

But the moment passes far too quickly…

Like Jim Croce, I want to save Time in a Bottle.

Stop the clocks.

If there is a perfection in time and place, a memory emblazoned like a first kiss, this is it.

Do I sound like I have Seasonal Twitterpation Disorder? (STD?... hmmmm… maybe a more suitable acronym exists for this!).

Of course I do.

It’s as sensual as any carnal activity (although the trees and flowers are putting on their “clothes”, rather than shedding them).

Annually, as winter grows long-in-the-tooth here in the Great White North, I find myself craving in the early evening’s darkness … I eagerly anticipate the arrival of warmer temperatures, longer languid days, profuse blooms, new avian visitors.

Then one day it emerges… I close my eyes and drink it in greedily, soak in the warmth, absorb the energy that abounds in the air and in the ground…

… and then, eventually, I breathe out as swirling white blizzards of blossom petals drift and sail – like a pillow fight unleashed in the air – and the moment all too quickly subsides, the winds grow still and the ecstasy begins a slow “return to earth”…

…….

Inelegantly, and without my consent, time passed.” (Miranda July)

…….

Akin to reincarnation or re-birth, I get to live in my paradise for a few weeks once every spin of earth’s cosmic calendar, a tempting and luscious amuse bouche that leaves me just a wee touch short of sated and always looking forward to its reappearance, like a dream… of heaven.

McIntosh apple blossoms in a neighbour’s orchard

Moms and Realizing That Heaven Does Exist

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mom-tattoo

Nasty, bloody, bombing-type scary terrorists have Moms.

Adolf Hitler had a Mom. Klara Pölzl.

Dogs and cats and horses have Moms.

Even groper-pig Donald Trump had a Mom, although he probably thought of her as a MILF. Mary Anne MacLeod.

I had a Mom. Lila Margueretta Miller.

You have/had a Mom.

No matter how small or unimportant, no matter how great or powerful, and yes, no matter how scary or terrible a person… for better or worse… we ALL have a mother.

I didn’t have a mother for a long time.

I adored her in life although I feel bad for the shit I put her through in my young lad days. The trauma of the frequent knock-em-down brawls my older brother and I had, probably took 5, maybe even 10 years off her life. I can still see the look of frustration and hurt in her eyes.

Mom died suddenly when I was 15. I treasure her memory in the heaven of her afterlife.

As I grow older (I’m almost the age when she died now), the faded memory of her voice and her vision slips further and further out to sea. Now, Lila – my Mom – is mostly a mirage of a ship on the horizon, a person I loved that drifts way off overseas in the distance but is never totally out of range .

Sometimes in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, she slips in and talks quietly to me, reassuring me better than any drug when I’m scared, “It’s alright son, this too shall pass…” …

Mom was one of the first inhabitants of my ghost town that’s grown like a lush Garden of Eden over time.

Like in an old spaghetti-western movie, there is a whole ghost town that lives in my head. People, pets, places, and buildings from my past.

Garden of Eden.jpg

Think of all the people that have died that you’ve known and who have touched you in your life. It likely numbers in the hundreds when you dredge up family, friends, neighbours, teachers, film and music stars.

The occupants of the ghost town are different in ages and personalities and sometimes a single resident of the town can live on in different forms – you might remember your Granddad as a robust younger man as well as a much older, grey-haired senior persona.

Or long-gone Nipper, my family’s beloved Water Spaniel dog as I was growing up. He lives on in my ghost town.

This is my lens of the world gone by.

Maybe, just maybe… that is what heaven truly is.

Heaven and hell and everything in-between are all constructs, a synthesis mix of reality and fantasy we’ve pieced together in the internal workings of our minds.

My heavenly vision is a “cloud” that drifts aimlessly in the overarching sky of my mind.

people in mirror.jpg

Heaven is that place where people live a second life, or multiple second lives because with each passing of an individual, that person’s soul breathes and walks inside the head of many… sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, co-workers, acquaintances.

It’s kind of morbid but it’s also quite uplifting at the same time.

It would take me hours to go through the people I have known and loved in my life that are no longer standing, breathing oxygen into their short-lived lungs on terra firma.

The interior of my head is like a TV show where I have some minor control over the appearance and movements of the characters I’ve known.

Interestingly, my mind won’t allow me to shape the personality or general sense of that person. I can’t rewrite their story because the subconscious knows the truth, or at least my perception of that individual. These were real people, not fictional Ebenezer Scrooges or Emma Woodhouses.

You may feel reassured by the notion of immortality. If you do, I’m happy for you.

I wish I found comfort in the image that heaven exists in some Christian biblical form, or like Jannah in the Qu’ran. I can’t.

My time in heaven will only live on for a generation or two beyond when I take my very last delicious bite of Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar. I’ll slowly fade to dust in the ghost towns of others. Time’s winds will carry me softly into sweet oblivion.

In the end, whether you believe in a traditional heaven or not, we will all roam, shadow-like, the hallowed halls of our loved ones’ and friends’ heads for months and years, wandering and laughing in a withering haze, like filmy baseball players disappearing into a cornfield maze.

Sooner or later, we will all chuckle and giggle at the same joke at the end of this very very long day.

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