It is the strangest thing to look at the shell of a person, the body without the soul, and to comprehend how someone could be here and then, not here at all. I spent some time thinking about that this last weekend, surrounded by people who were bonded only by the shell we were standing near, the shell of someone who had lived long and with infectious charm.
I’m thinking about it now as I type, the fingers of this body punching keys on a keyboard, forming words chosen by my mind, my thoughts, my sense of reason and understanding. Someday, these fingers won’t type, my body will cease to work, the breath of life will be puffed out of me but, what is inside of me — what is most me — that will never die, that will just move somewhere else.
I will move somewhere else. Right now, as I’m typing, I’m sitting next to a window, feeling with my body the slight chill of the air outside that leaks through into this room.
I can hear the buzzing of someone mowing grass. I can see clouds streaking the sky through the window.
These days, there are signs of life all around me — green lawns, budding branches, even new babies being born. There is that paradox: all around us, death and life.
Here then gone. Alive then not.
Saturday, I made this easy smoothie, part POM Wonderful and part frozen banana, and slurped it down to the bottom, drank every sweet and icy bit until I felt it go down deep and chill me, too. Sunday, the day we celebrated a life lost, was the first afternoon since Daylight Savings, that which stretches our sunshine and ushers in spring’s new life.
I went out to eat with my family, where we talked about wills and estates, and my brother and I told my dad he can never die, and I ate blackened salmon and sweet potatoes and a tall glass of ice water. Death and life. Here then gone.
We are always aware of death, of course. We know life on Earth is not eternal, that this world is not all there is, but sometimes at least I know I forget it.
I look at the specifics of my individual corner of this life, and I get caught up in what I am doing for a living or where I am living or other things that are temporal, and I just forget what I am living for. So anyway I am thinking these days that it is good, in the life you still have, to be reminded that you have it.
And then, you can go out into the daylight, beneath the bright blue sky of clouds, to take the days before you and, truly live.
Makes one smoothie.
Oh and in the spirit of gratitude: Big thank you to POM Wonderful for sending me more of their delicious (and nutritious!) juice, which was used in this smoothie. I have to say, when I went to Florida in January, and I was waiting for my flight at O’Hare, the fact that I’d packed an entire lunch in my bag didn’t stop me from buying a big old bottle of POM Wonderful to take on the plane.
It is good stuff.
1/2 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
just under 1/2 cup milk
2 ice cubes
1/2 large banana, peeled and broken into chunks
1 Tablespoons slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon honey or to taste
In a blender, combine all the ingredients, cover and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.