09/29/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

On My Deck, Surrounded By Ghosts

So with this post, I become a blogger.

At the invitation of my good friend, Senator Bill Marovitz. He's always liked my movie reviews, or in most cases, rants, and said, "Hey, write about anything." I'll stick mostly to movies but we're having an absolutely beautiful summer here in Chicago and as I sat on the deck the other night I wrote this. I hope it qualifies as a blog, and I hope visitors to Huffington Post Chicago enjoy it.

So I'm sitting outside surrounded by ghosts. There is a kid's birthday party going on two doors down with the anarchic sounds of children running amok. The delightful sounds of children and then a little later grownups singing 'Happy Birthday' and the kids chiming in 'cha cha cha.' And, then still later, a child crying, an inconsolable crying that lays the heart open as if your chest has finally been cracked for the old quadruple. A mother's soothing voice, the words spoken in a soft, reassuring voice, too low to understand, and then more hilarity the child will forget forever.

Me, on my deck, book in hand, beer beneath the chair, transported back in time to children playing in the yard. Ethan mugging at me from two feet away because I'm reading and not watching him and Aaron race to the bushes and back. Molly doing cart wheels on the grass, Jenna trying to learn how to do a headstand with Erika holding her feet. Birthday after birthday, captured on tape, children's voices gone, children grown, the party two doors down like a ghost visiting me. Gone.

Gone forever like my memory of my mom and me standing in front of a building in Chicago, me in my first expensive suit, she so proud, looking so natural back in a big city, so real I can smell her perfume, but unknown and unknowable to anyone else, as if it never happened.

The body moves on and the mind circles the past. When I was younger I was very afraid of death, but now it seems much more natural. It's not that I have been to so many funerals recently or that my parents are dead, which they always say is the sign that you have really grown up, but that after watching generations happen, what happens to generations becomes more understandable, more natural, less intimidating. Religion tried to tell us of this whole but we have rejected most of how they explained the unexplainable so now we are left to our own devices.

No heaven or hell. No eternity. No reincarnation. No Valhalla. Just an end.
An end to consciousness. But the spirit rebels: there must be more to it, there must be more to me, to you, to them.

Children's voices, comforting, a regeneration, maybe we exist in those voices. Maybe.