lessons learned


Random quote of the day:

“I was walking down Fifth Avenue today and I found a wallet, and I was gonna keep it, rather than return it, but I thought: “Well, if I lost a hundred and fifty dollars, how would I feel?” And I realized I would want to be taught a lesson.”

—Emo Philips, E=MO2

 wallet4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

I’ve been trying to dig myself out of the mounds of acquired stuff that have begun to seem more a burden than preserved treasures. Part of this has been cleaning up and getting rid of old paper files and odds n’ ends in filing cabinets and boxes. Sometimes I actually throw them away; sometimes I digitize them then throw them away. Other times I run across relics of my past that aren’t really worthy of preservation—except, maybe, as personal historical documents. Signs and portents from a much younger me which now and then have messages for the present.

I came across one of those today, something written on a scrap of paper when I was about fourteen or fifteen. There was some scribbling in imitation of a novel called Jesus Christs by A. J. Langguth that made a big impression on me back then. Not great writing on my part, but I find it as hard to be disdainful of that child who was me as I would find it impossible to be disdainful of any fourteen or fifteen-year-old child trying to find their way in the creative world. I will digitize this page, even though it isn’t “worthy.”

We need to protect our young selves because they still exist inside us, still need to be nurtured and told it’s okay to come out of hiding. They are part of us, no matter how we may deny them or what sophisticated masks overlay their faces.

On the bottom of this same preserved page was another message, scrawled in a different pen and in obvious distress—not the fat, rounded characters of my “artistic” handwriting.

Why am I so cruel and impatient? He’s old and needs help. He needs someone to listen to his stories and make him feel good.

That one sent a chill through me. That young girl was speaking of her biological father, already a senior citizen when she was born. What chilled me? It made me realize that my life has been bracketed by the care and consideration of two old people. When I was young, my father—much older than my mother, and now, of course, as the wheel turns round and round…it’s my mother.

In between these brackets existed a time for me, a precious and fleeting time, but I didn’t realize that. I piffled it away, had some fun, worried too much about inconsequential things, thinking my time infinite and solely my own. I don’t believe I’m alone in this kind of behavior, this illusion, as many a human seems incapable of grasping the passage of time. I have done a lot of gazing in crystal balls in the course of my life, consulting with the tarot and the runes and the lines in the palm of my hand. I got quite good at telling fortunes. I could really sell it, you know? Weave a good story for the marks…

Like many and many a fortune, my own held good and bad, steady going and crumbling steps, the expected and unexpected—none of which, really, was picked up by the crystal or the cards or the lines or the runes. Like many and many a future, mine held a large dose of irony that oracles seem very poor at ferreting out of the aethyr.

Remembrance

Every new thing she see reminds her of the past,
or loved ones long gone, she the last of her line:
the way things used to be, how we did things then,
the funny thing her brother did, the tricks they played.

How much has changed.

A different world, consumed by history, lost
except in a few pale memories locked in spirits
headed away from Now and into the past tense.
The days wind down, grow fewer—whether
short or long we cannot say—
but not miles, not miles left to travel.

I listen for as long as I can,
stories told again and again,
trying to bear witness,
trying to let her know
someone still cares.

I try, but memories don’t get the laundry done,
the dishes put away, the dinner cooked.
The Now is relentless, unsentimental, unforgiving.

Someday you will regret not having these conversations.

Yes. Someday, someday, someday.

But for Now
I have many duties in my way
and steps or miles before that day.
Steps or miles before that day.