The day had come and gone without his notice. He had buried his face in the everyday and could not say whether the sun had shone all day or if snow had dusted the neighborhood. It was as if he had slept all day, but he remembered waking.
Outside, he knew, there was a cold colder than the coldest cold and a land anxious for spring, but he hadn’t glanced out the window, as far as he could remember, so he couldn’t say if the ground was softer or harder or ice-covered or some lingering grass was visible. He thought he may have communicated with the outside world but couldn’t remember the details. Continue reading “A day lost and found”
The thoughts bombarded him like an automatic machine gun spraying the yard like lethal missiles. Overstimulated, he folded into a stupor, unable to think straight enough to take a step one way or another. Sounds, blinking lights, and hundreds of people dashing or walking this way and that.
He knew he had somewhere to go but suddenly had no interest or memory of where that might be, only an overwhelming urge to process the scene in front of him. It was if he had been dropped into a teeming ant hill: Everyone about him knew where they were going and was going straight about their business, but it looked like chaos. He wanted to see the pattern, he wanted to see how it all fit together, the infinite combinations. Continue reading “Lost in the flit”
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese proverb
The best time to write a novel was 40 years ago. The second best time is now.
The best time to apologize to your friend was right after it happened. The second best time is now.
The best time to switch careers was when you were X years old. The second best is now.
Fear not that you missed the best time to do anything worthwhile, because the second best time is right here and now.
While rummaging through my writing for a project to be announced later, I came across a line that begged to be expanded:
Dance as long as your heart can stand the joy.
Joy makes you want to move; it’s expressed in dancing of all kinds – from the tapping of your foot to the spreading of arms to reach the sun and jumping.
Joy brings the dance, and the dance brings joy: Dance as long as your heart can stand the joy.
The heart is the conduit: Dance, and your heart will seek the joy. And through the joy, the heart dances.
Cause and effect – which comes first? Which is cause? Which is effect? Both.
One brings the other.
Last night was one of those football games people will remember for years. Losing 20-0 at one point, the Green Bay Packers rallied around injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers to beat the Chicago Bears 24-23. It was one of those defining moments that adds to The Legend of Aaron Rodgers, with a host of lead-by-examples – as Churchill is said to have said, “Never, never, never give up.” If you can keep going, keep going.
It seemed Rodgers’ return, even limping, inspired the rest of the team. “If he can come back and play, I can block better so he’s not hit again. I can catch that ball. I can keep the Bears from making that first down.” The team that played the second half was more energized and more focused on winning every moment than the team that played the first half.
If you can keep going, keep going. Rodgers did say the doctors told him he would not make the injury worse by playing on it, so there is that cautionary caveat – but if you can keep going, keep going. Play the game as hard as you can until the final whistle, and you just may overcome every hurdle. If by chance you do fall short, at least you know you gave it all you had. In this case, all they had was just enough.
Finish every day and be done with it … You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
To-morrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, a letter to his daughter quoted in A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson by James Elliot Cabot, Vol. II, 1887.
In a quiet place, in a quiet moment, the scene opens on a guy sitting in a chair reading and, in between lines, reflecting on his life to date. Something is amiss in his soul, and yet his soul is calm as can be.
He frets at the thought that his noble old dog is showing signs of age, but he accepts he has no power to do anything except love her day by day.
That seems to be what feels amiss – the peace in his heart in the face of coming sorrow.
On the other hand, there’s no point in railing against an unfair but inevitable reality – not when there are still toys to gnaw and fields to wander.
Our corner of the world is perhaps not utopia — I sit on a bench in an acre of clover, yes, but at the edge of the land a four-lane highway shouts down the songbirds with the constant shriek of cars and trucks driving to and from tourist paradise. Every so often a break in the traffic provides a glimpse of what once was on this space.
If I turn to my left or right or peek behind me, though, I see forest and a great bay where deer and raccoon and pelican and gull may not exactly thrive but at least they eke out a living. It’s no longer unusual to see a bald eagle and its mate soaring overhead, although it still takes the breath away. And so we screen out the roar of civilization and appreciate the land for what it is.
The first compass flower of the summer is here already, ahead of schedule – and I have been too pressed to the computer screen to have watched the north-facing leaves spiral up and over my head – at least I didn’t miss the yellow burst out of the green. Continue reading “Dare I say happiness?”