Saturday, May 16, 2009


“There’s no such thing as away”

As in “go away,” or “put that away,” or “throw it away.” I heard this comment made on the radio. I don’t know who, or what show, I wasn’t really paying attention. They were talking about recycling and a lady on the program said this in reference to trash and landfills. “There is no such thing as away.” This phrase has been stuck in my head sort of rattling around like a little screw that has worked it’s way loose in the case of a power tool. I can hear it rattling when I move the tool in a certain way, but it doesn’t seem to have any real impact on the operation, so I just sort of wonder about it once in a while. I like the way this phrase sounds. “There’s no such thing as away” It’s kind of like “There’s no place like home….There’s no place like home.” It’s also like one of those koans “what is the sound of one hand clapping” My mind knows there is no such thing as away -really- but it uses the concept of away so oft and so effectively that to say it directly is a sort of splash of cold water in the face of my auto pilot. Trash just goes away. Problems I can’t, or don’t, deal with just go away (I like to hope), Sometimes I just go away. When my kids push me to my limit of frustration I’ll tell them to go away. When the dog is breathing in my face the command he knows is “go away.” Away. It’s a wonderful little word, actually. Think of all it allows. All the implications and consequences it dissolves. From the most minute details: “my chigger bites went away,” to the most egregious affronts: “that nuclear waist just goes away,” All the people we killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, are far away. Which is where I hope to be when all our karma chickens come home to roost.

3 comments:

Linda Pendleton said...

Yes, Randy, a lot of karma and it will not just "go away."

John Hayes said...

Hi Randy:

Something for you at RF Banjo.

René Wing said...

Great riff on 'away' and an impactful final thought. This could be a poem. also reminds me of a poem from a collection I have called "Heart Throbs" (oh my!)... an old book that was my mother's... it's a James Whitcomb Riley poem called "Away" and fittingly it's about a soldier killed in war. The opening line is "I cannot say, and I will not say/That he is dead. He is just away!" There's a sense in which that supports the recycling lady's point: things are never completely gone. they're just moved to another place. Like us too?