Usually there had been a drink or two or four in my hand,
which made me lose my inhibitions
which made me forget how dorky I looked when I took a long drag and then coughed
which made me forget how my mouth tasted like a cold furnace the next morning.
Nothing against smokers, mind you; it’s just not for me.
The other morning I stepped out into the backyard early to let the dog out and something reminded me of smoking, and the taste of ashes in my mouth, and my regret about all of that.
I suppose a few people have Fat Tuesday regrets on Ash Wednesday –
a few too many indulgences,
too much gluten, too many Hurricanes, too much, too many.
I wonder if Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance as much as it is a day of regrets. Regrets for those cigarettes and those drinks and the ice creams and the harsh words and the apathies and the lies and the cruelties and all those ashes that pile up, in our mouths and in our hearts and in our souls.
We really are all dust, and really, that is our only destination.
But out of the ashes, the phoenix rises –
And out of the dust life bursts forth, shaking off the dirt, proclaiming green in the monochrome scene.
So maybe Ash Wednesday is as much about hope as anything else.