Chocolate Rolls, Ghosts, and Existential Loneliness

Ghost Portraits

 

I just sliced a left over biscuit, poured chocolate syrup on the doughy inside, wrapped it in foil and stuck it in the oven to heat a little bit.  It's a poor but quick substitute for a real chocolate roll.  

 

Chocolate rolls were the ultimate treat in my mother's lunch pail when she was a little girl in the one room school house they called 'College Hill' in Sugar Tree, Tennessee.  She didn't get a chocolate roll very often.  Wheat flour and chocolate had to be bought with cash money, unlike the usual fare produced on her family's farm; pork, corn, peanuts, sorghum molasses, turnips, black eyed peas, sweet potatoes, milk and eggs.

 

Chocolate rolls were a simple and utterly delicious treat made from pie crust dough sprinkled with sugar and cocoa, dotted with butter, rolled up and baked in the oven of the wood burning stove Mama Walker cooked on.  

 

When we were little, my mother occasionally made chocolate rolls for my sister and me. I too thought they were the best treat ever.  I've tried making the real thing a few times, but, like everything else I cook, mine never taste as good as Mother's.  

 

After Mother went into assisted living, my sister and I found a chocolate roll secreted on the top shelf of a cabinet in her kitchen.  I don't know why the image of that single chocolate roll has haunted me all week, but it has, and I've felt so sad.

 

I've had an aching awareness of a basic sense of loneliness that goes beyond either the presence or absence of companions. I'm lucky. I share life with loving companions every day and I am so grateful for them.  But I'm still lonely.

 

What I feel is, I suppose, the existential loneliness of our common human condition.  We are all confined in a particular body and psyche that cannot ever be fully shared, escaped or shed until the ultimate solo act each of us faces: death. 

 

Mortal existence is a prison for all of us, a sort of solitary confinement within ourselves.  We are all, I suspect, from birth, lonely exiles from our Mothers' wombs.  

 

I wrote this song, titled Forgotten, for my mother.  Of all the people that are gone, I miss her the most.  But the truth is, I missed her even when she was still alive for she also was a solitary soul, apart, trapped in her own private and too often tortured prison.  She was unreachable in life just as she is in death.   

 

       

 

Lyrics to Forgotten

 

Forgotten language of sighing wind

Forgotten faces of long lost friends

Forgotten voices of all the ghosts

Whose tongues are stilled by death's cruel repose

 

But if I could remember

Then I'd remember you

Before the time of sorrow

And exile from the womb

 

I wish I could remember

Before I was alone

Before we all were strangers

And every door was closed

 

Forgotten language of sighing wind

Forgotten faces of long lost friends

Forgotten voices of all the ghosts

Whose tongues are stilled by death's cruel repose

 

Forgotten faces, forgotten souls



As always, I ask you to share Dogwood Daughter with someone else.  I'm an indie artist and I need word of mouth advertising from kind folks like yourself.  Thank you.  


Be Well and Good Luck,

Martha Maria 


2 comments

  • Madeleine Kennedy
    Madeleine Kennedy
    This is beautiful Martha, it made me cry.

    This is beautiful Martha, it made me cry.

  • Ron Bowman
    Ron Bowman
    Outstanding Martha Maria! Such a talented friend you are.

    Outstanding Martha Maria! Such a talented friend you are.

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