A few Friday evenings ago I visited a local brewery specializing in Belgian styles. The facility was originally a funeral home and the architecture mirrors gothic styles found in traditional cathedrals. I sat down towards the end of the bar and next to an older gentleman sitting on his own. He face was tended downward, slightly away to the right, gazing towards the base of a stone arch that towered over the other patrons busily conversing their way into another weekend of hopeful respite. His visage, in contrast, inward and thoughtful. Immersed. Possibly a reminiscence.. as I thought in passing. Not soon though after I sat down, he quickly offered availability for conversation.
A half hour or so into easing banter, after stumbling upon a number of coincidental details concerning some shared localities and life events, a comfort level must have been reached to allow him to open up on his recent widowhood. And it was an appropriate fit for a discussion we were having on health care. We were avoiding the too common tendencies for narrowed political discussions and instead, exploring to grasp and understand medical treatment when channeled through the monstrously impersonal structures that make up the assembly lines of our health systems. The personal complexities involved, the influential consequences upon how we come to view the issues of physical life, and subsequent death.
With his progression, with an intended contrast, he spoke of being a Master Gardener and then later, the vast simplicity of ‘light’ (at which time, his eyes briefly unveiled believable resolution). It was an insight that was best acknowledged by me with a subtle nod. But when I was putting on my coat to make my leave, after shaking his hand and thanking him for an enjoyable talk, an inner direction revealed itself. To return back to warm histrionic callings. Emergent mysteries from the dark. An easily observant path I could follow through the seeking depths of his eyes.