. . . he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself. Surely this was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should not be conscious of so living or so striving.
Chapter 10, A Bosom Friend
Last night I was about to turn in when an email caught my eye. It was, in fact, this post:
You can probably guess what caught my eye there, but, being curious, I followed this one and found a brilliant cathartic all over the place kinda post that I would recommend you all read if you haven’t already. It is so full of things to respond to packed in with such compressed energy–but here’s one:
Somehow, the movie captured not only the imagination of a younger audience, but also the imaginations of those older, who had ostensibly given up on their dreams and aspirations. Perhaps, somewhere deep inside, deeper than their cynicism, deeper than the scars inflicted by their life experiences, they still believed that they were meant for something greater.
Maybe they saw themselves in the superheroes on the screen.
So here’s what I want to say on that:
I gave up on my dreams,
but not with bitterness or cynicism, they simply failed to hold my interest once their reality came into focus.
Do I still believe I’m meant for something greater? Well, sure, sometimes. I visualize life as a curve, but the curve keeps changing and gaining new dimensions and in any of those dimensions it may yet rise or fall.
And, when it does fall, where do I land? Ha, like a cat, I hope. On my feet. I am strangely convinced of my own resilience, and
in the end
is what entrances us about the super hero.
What is your resilience? Find it and you have found your super power. I recently attended my 30th high school reunion and before the reunion we were sent a survey which included (and I quote):
#7. Life (in general) is better in 2012 than in 1982 because. . .Life is worse in 2012 than in 1982 because
To which I responded:
Better. Hopes are dashed, expectations are lowered—where else can I go but up? But seriously . . .
( I won’t bore you with the rest. )
But my point was, given a simple exercise:
- Close your eyes. Remember a May morning when you were 17
- Open your eyes: See the May morning in the here and now.
- Compare and contrast.
Then: I was lost in visions of a life yet to come. The fiction of my future was so palpable I think I spent more time in this imaginary place than I did in my own 17 year old body that year. There was still so much to imagine unfettered, un restrained by any tinge of the actual practical reality, because we had been raised to believe we could do or be anything. That was the super power we believed in.
Thirty years later: I do not believe I can do or be whatever I want.
I think I will be
who I am
and find in the very small reality of me
worlds upon worlds
of human fulfillment.
Sure, I am still swept over with moments of dread. Yes, I choke up when I become too preoccupied with how I am being perceived by others and I have daily small deaths in the undertow of these waves of dread
they are counter balanced overwhelmingly by the simple act of being.
At my grandmother’s house, along the front path, grew a Chrysler Rose. Each spring it would emerge in the thaw and put forth a scant bouquet of deep red roses. My grandfather had planted it, for my grandmother, and though he died when I was four, the bush continued to put out its roses each spring. My grandmother never failed to stop and appreciate each bloom on that rose bush. She would join me as I stood in the doorway looking out at those roses, slip her hand around my fingers, squeeze and say
“He has brought me roses again this morning.”
The red rose whispers of passion
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh the red rose is a falcoln,
And the white rose is a dove.
But I send you a cream white rosebud,
With a flush on its petal tips
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.
John Boyle O’Reilly
The diamond industry tells us a diamond is forever. Yeah, so is coprolite. My brother used to like to store his fossilized dinosaur shit on the floor just outside the litter box. Geologist humor. But what I would argue is that “forever” is overated.
Given the choice of a colorless rock I can be buried with (or mugged for), or a plant which will bloom over my dead body for decades to come, I’ll take the later.
There are some three million ways in which my husband is my perfect mate. This is one. For our last anniversary this was my gift: a native sage bush—this particular variety?
Hot Lips Sage. . .with a flush on its petal tips.
At 17 I dreamed of glory, of the spotlight, of world travel and recognition and a blazing presence that would brand me into the hearts of this lifetime’s occupants.
This morning, I made the pizza dough and set it aside to rise under a warm towel on the counter. I stood over the stove in alternating tree pose to pass the ten minutes it took to slowly and constantly stir the base for the French Vanilla ice cream as it thickened.
I spent an hour feeding the hens, picking up the yard, rearranging my latest little broodie in a clean secure location with fresh food and water and was greeted at every turn by the thriving natives with which my husband has populated our yard.
A burrowing owl, disoriented by my uncovering her morning doze–I quickly replaced the clutter.
Life greatest riches are her simplest gifts.
Would I ever go back to seventeen?
Do I wish that I had never let go of dreams?
Not for so much as a nanosecond of my exquisite existence.