Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Path I've Chosen

Where am I headed?

I value discipline as a good trait and deadlines as motivators but the two can be bad taskmasters. They compelled me to patch together quickly yesterday’s post but I felt like I had traveled down a muddy road poorly. I began a list of ideas to confront the political challenge then I stumbled upon an excerpt from Thirteen Moons and came to a quagmire that I want to avoid.

Survive long enough and you get to a far point in life where nothing else of particular interest is going to happen. After that, if you don’t watch out, you can spend all your time tallying your losses and gains in endless narrative. All you love has fled or been taken away. Everything fallen from you except the possibility of jolting and unforewarned memory springing out of the dark, rushing over you with the velocity of heartbreak. May walking down the hall humming an old song -- "The Girl I Left Behind Me" -- or the mere fragrance of clove in spiced tea can set you weeping and howling when all you've been for weeks on end is numb. (Excerpt: 'Thirteen Moons' by Charles Frazier)

The day began with unpleasant issues but ended with Fall colors, refreshing breezes and the arrival of Mary Oliver’s latest book of poetry.

The text on the front inside dust jacket promised treasure within. “Thirst . . . introduces two new directions in the poet’s work. Grappling with grief at the death of her beloved partner of over forty years, she strives to experience sorrow as a path to spiritual progress, grief as part of loving and not its end. And within these pages she chronicles for the first time her discovery of faith, without abandoning the love of the physical world . . .”

I opened the book and began reading the first poem, "Messenger"
My work is loving the world.

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished. (Excerpt: Thirst – Poems by Mary Oliver: “Messenger”)

The contrast pulled me back to reality. I learn from and am inspired by others. Frazier paints the danger to be avoided. Oliver illuminates the way around the danger.

One of the tasks of aging is to arrive at old age feeling content with one's life. As I've remembered and written some of my experiences I've felt more contentment, peace and acceptance of myself. I've taken joy in my successes and found treasure in my failures and indiscretions. I'm thankful for the more noble things I've done and equally thankful for the ignoble deeds I've committed.

Last night, after talking with Juile and reading Mary Oliver's poems, I arrived at at decision. Occasionally, I’ll continue to write about and struggle with negative issues and try to do so in a positive way. Most of the time, I’ll write about the good and the beauty of life. To do otherwise is to take the path to Frazier's abysmal end.

“My work is loving the world . . . and learning to be astonished”.


Blogger Buffalo said...

I had occasion to go to Winnipeg today. The country between here and there was one continuous photo op and an artists paradice. While I was sitting in the van, waiting, a young woman smiled at me. It felt good to have someone smile in my direction. Later we had a great meal. The hostess had the most incredibly, beautiful eyes. Couldn't begin to describe them. She lit up when I told her.

It wasn't a bad day.

10/03/2006 06:33:00 PM  

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