Musings From The Porch: The Storm & The Vigil

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“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

A year ago I wrote about sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Chicago, watching stories of the world unfold. The organized chaos of that day is starkly contrasted by the disorganized calm I experience now, sitting on my porch in the Indiana countryside, not so much watching the world go by, but rather -feeling- it go by. The occasional car, truck, or tractor rumbles along our ragged stretch of cracked and worn asphalt, but other than that, it’s a fairly sedate existence out here. To say it’s quiet is both an understatement and a falsehood, illustrating the contradictory nature of life.

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Resignation & Resolve – A Moment’s Notice

We reach points in our life where we are forced to choose new paths. Choosing a new path very often means resignation of the old, and often of the life that went with it, for the sake of the new. Sometimes, we can hold on to aspects of the old path, the old life, if nothing else as reminders of where we have been, what we have done, and that we are otherwise the sum of the moments we have experienced up to and including the moment we presently exist in.

But that’s just it:

We exist only in the present moment. All of eternity exists here, now, in you, in me, and only in this moment, the one that you are experiencing now, the one that you are creating simply by observing it. The future exists only as we wish it to, and never as anything but some dream beyond reach.

The interesting thing… every moment we experience is the point where the past and the future meet, where what was and what isn’t become what is, and in every moment we are faced with taking a step forward into the unknown.

But to do so requires resignation-the willingness to let go of the old. It also requires resolve. The resolve to embrace the unknown, and to find out what’s out there.

Resignation.

Resolve.

And a moment passes.

It’s A Dog’s Life

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~3 million stories, each unique, no matter how similar to another. 3 million lives that interact and affect each other, most without ever realizing it or understanding that though they are but one drop in an ocean, there would be no ocean without every single one of them, and that each ripple caused by each drop causes waves that affect the entire ocean.

Thanks to the generosity of some friends, I’m sitting this morning in a bookstore cafe in downtown Chicago, watching momentary glimpses of each of these stories –

The businessman in his neatly pressed suit a table over from me, anxiously watching his phone, watch, and the door; who’s he waiting for? What’s got him anxious?

The guy that just walked by, stopped in the middle of his stride to dance and turn to the music in his headphones, oblivious to the world around him, or the attention (and lack thereof); I wonder if he knows that he caused a couple people to smile, and for just a moment, he made their day a little brighter?

The young woman who looks a bit lost while seemingly trying to fit in with the rush around her. Is she new to the city, trying to make a life here? Or has the eagerness of youth been swept away by an overwhelming cityscape that doesn’t seem to care that she’s even there? Maybe she just hasn’t had her ritual cup of coffee this morning, or is already on her way out of the city this afternoon to her weekend plans?

The photographer with his expensive camera and vest, himself capturing moments of life that will forever keep the secrets of the moment while betraying to later viewers that in that moment, there was life happening, there were stories unfolding, writing and rewriting themselves, and the grand play that is life was carrying itself out. Maybe I’ll come across one of his pictures someday, and recognize the moment he captured? Maybe, and perhaps more importantly, someone else will see those pictures, and be inspired to create their own stories in their minds, inspired by a moment stolen and shared…

I suppose, as a poet, a writer, an observer of people, and a traveler that I am inclined to watch the world around me a little more than some others and wonder about all the stories being written, all the stories that are yet to be told, and in some way, even if at least in my head, craft my own version of them based on a moment. Moreover though, I not only wonder about the stories of the people I encounter, but I often wonder at how my own interaction with those people in their moments changes their story.

How do the ripples I create as I wander through life affect the rest of the ocean?

How do yours?

We are each of our own making, and yet… we have all made each other.

Every story fascinates me – especially the ones that I will never hear, nor ever write.