Make pain a friend, and you will have no enemies.
When the truth of the myth of Sisyphus comes to light…
what choice do we have, but to love the rock?
Nine years ago we built a tree fort. My oldest son started the project. His younger brother and I join in. The three of us finished it together. Nestled in a towering Maple tree it made for a great lookout, outdoor cafe, and hideaway.
Today I dismantled the weathered, and in some areas rotting lumber and slowly but surely landed all the pieces without knocking my ladder out from under me.
It finally hit me. The removal of the tree fort was symbolic in that today my youngest leaves home for college. As I removed screws, cut straps, and pried free the old timber I was overcome with the realization that an era had come to an end, and going forward life will be changed.
Fare thee well on the adventures of your choosing you wonderful souls.
We’re all just people, unwittingly lugging our damage through life.
With any luck, it ends with us. We discover it, defuse it, and dismantle it. If not, we pass the burden along to the innocent.
Legacy hangs in the balance.
We are who we are, but only for an infinitesimal moment. Change may be happening, if we’re lucky. So we are who we are, but we’re not who we were. Not exactly.
Things that have “always” mattered, at some point stop mattering. We may even pride ourselves on “consistency,” which is commonly held to be admirable but is ultimately impossible. Perhaps it is for the better that consistency is at best a steadied mirage. Immutability can be comforting, but in its soil, nothing grows.
So we are who we are. On a journey that may deliver growth, or abdication, or triumph, or discontent; more likely a combination of some or all of them. At the moment of experiencing any of these possibilities we find ourselves to be “who we are.”
Comfort can be found in the notion that “who we are” is but a momentary flash between who we were, and who we are yet to be.
Deep down, everyone wants to feel loved. It doesn’t seem like a big ask.
Oftentimes, facing our own history, unraveling it, then making peace with it in the present is a necessary first step.
Gazing into the mirror we unknowingly ask, and answer a question in silence, “Am I lovable?”
This unspoken answer serves as subliminal instruction for all those we come across in this lifetime.
Starry starry night. Raging infernos casting tiny lights across the night sky. Cool to our eyes they are, but at their cores emotionless, cataclysmic turmoil roils to near infinity. All that they may exist and, that others who exist may experience their communal gathering as a hunter, a scorpion, a ram or a guiding light to the north.
So much energy, so much creation, so much destruction, and for what? Is it better to burn out than to fade away? Perhaps. The life of a star is predictable, like the life of a human. Birth, growth, temporary stability and ultimately death.
Light from without, a star, in our galaxy, the sun, draws the eye, warms the flesh, and the soul.
What about light from within? Is it a myth? Surely not as many have documented their experience of it in song and prose. If we’ve never felt it how can it be found? Once found how can it be sustained. Is this inner light like that of a star; explosive, tumultuous, destined to consume itself? At times this would seem the case.
When a fire ignites it may burn white hot, for a time, but like all fires it is destined to run its course. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Out of the ashes of many fires may come a new perspective on the nature of what it means to bring light to one’s life. Perhaps the raging of a sun doomed to extinguish becomes a burden. Perhaps instead the desire for light, or meaning, sheds the thought of creation through destruction, and instead leans into a less brilliant yet more sustainable goal. In this desire for light without conflict we may in time become phosphorescent.
Dissatisfaction sings an alluring siren’s song in the mental cocktail lounge of life.
Many a patron has run aground hypnotized by the sweet melody of her maliciously delicious vocal stylings.
Ansel glared at Angel through his blond mop of hair.
“Quiet, you’ll wake him up!” He growled in a whisper.
“No I won’t, he’s sound asleep!” Chirped Angel, who was not so cautiously, in fact rather loudly rummaging through the change bowl in the top drawn of the dresser.
The room was cast in the light of a full moon spilling through the massive old wooden framed windows on the south side wall.
Ansel fidgeted and flitted about as Angel slipped both hands into the bowl. The coins jostled and clattered against one another as she continued her search.
Gentle breathing emanated from the head on the pillow on the bed in the room that was lit by the radiance of the full moon.
The breather seemed at peace. The consistent rhythm of the soft inhales and exhales would have been perceived as soothing by most.
Unfortunately for Ansel, he was not ‘most’ and so was not soothed. It wasn’t that he couldn’t appreciate a tranquil breathing cadence. No, for Ansel the issue was more situational, and the ‘situation’ was Angel’s characteristic devil may care attitude. She glanced at him mischievously, her eyes sparkling, then turned back to the task at hand.
“Eureka” squealed Angel hoisting a shining silver dollar. Her smile was as dazzling as the slivery coin flickering and gleaming in the moonlight.
“Didn’t know they made these anymore. Total treasure Ansel, massive treasure. We’re rich!” She gushed.
“Shhhhh! We’re not rich, we’re couriers!” Ansel huffed, still fidgeting. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Quit being such a fun sucker” Angel snapped. Then in a softer reassuring tone, she cooed, “Relax, we have the best job in the world. Can’t you enjoy a chance victory? It’s the little things in life Ansel, or in this case a big shiny one.”
The head on the pillow stirred, and as it did the rhythmic breathing skipped a beat. The sleeper mumbled a few indistinct words and turned on the pillow.
Ansel and Angel froze. Two awkwardly posed statues holding their breath. After what seemed like an eternity the peaceful rhythm of soft inhales and exhales resumed. The silver dollar glinted in Angel’s trembling hand.
“Let’s go!” Ansel snarled under his breath.
“Fine” Angel hissed. She readjusted the silver dollar in her hand. It felt heavy and was becoming hard to grip due to the beads of perspiration on her palm.
The two coin collectors looked toward the doorway making sure it had not become occupied by a family dog or cat. They were fond of dogs, and cats too for that matter, but the feeling was not always mutual.
Ansel made for the door. Angel followed, as she did the perspiration on her palm made a play for the coin wresting it from her grip. She watched with a look of horror as the silver dollar tumbled end over end toward the worn oak floorboards. Hearing her gasp Ansel turned his head. His eyes widened to the size of tea saucers as his lips formed a silent scream, “Nooooooo!”
The coin slammed into the floor with a clank, bounced onto its edge, and commenced to roll in a weaving path toward the doorway.
The formerly peaceful head on the pillow launched skyward, eyes wide open and issued and rather urgent “What the…?”
At a full sprint Angel grabbed Ansel’s hand. She flung him toward the door with her right hand while scooping the coin up with her left.
The head on the pillow was now well off the pillow and rising; becoming a body out of bed. “Who’s there?” The voice bellowed. To be clear the bellow was a mixture of anger and consternation, mostly consternation.
Ansel rounded the door jamb and got his hand over Angel’s mouth just in time to prevent her from saying “No one!”
The head on the pillow, now a body out of bed scanned the room, rubbed its sleepy eyes, then took a second look. Nothing moved, no sound could it hear. The former head on the pillow sat down on the bed, took a sip of water from the glass on the bedside table, and cast a bemused gaze in the direction of the moonlit windows.
Three minutes later the silver dollar was safely hidden. Tucked between the fitted sheet and pillowcase of a much smaller bed with a much smaller head on its pillow. Earlier that day, as you may have guessed, the much smaller head had lost its first small tooth.
Then without a sound, the couriers exited as they often do through the chimney flue, and fluttered off into the night.
Independence [ in-di-pen-duhns ]
Definition: Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.
Freedom [ free-duhm ]
Definition: The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
Society [ suh-sahy-i-tee ]
Definition: An organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.
Coexistence [ koh-ig-zis-tuhns ]
Definition: A policy of living peacefully with other nations, religions, etc., despite fundamental disagreements.
Survival [ ser-vahy-vuhl ]
Definition: The act or fact of surviving, especially under adverse or unusual circumstances.