Come with me, my ferocious darlings. If there are songs to sing, we'll sing them. Fights to fight? We'll win them. Monsters to explain particle physics to? Well, that'll take some doing, but we'll make it happen. Nothing will stop us, because thermodynamics and pigheadedness.
It's hard to see the beauty you look at everyday. It's good to go - you have to - if for no other reason than the pleasure of coming back. Rediscovering home makes you understand who you are inside; you learn what you think matters. Sometimes we forget that we are the sum of our choices; sometimes we forget that we can choose. Not all of the choices are good ones, but playing a bad hand means you're still playing.
The opportunity will come up to be dazzlingly selfish and wrong-headed. Sometimes, you will take it. There are a million stories you can tell yourself about how this happened, but at the end of the day it comes down to you wanted to and so you did. Beware yourself; when you're standing in a valley all you can see is the valley. The wind is made of echoes.The biggest bug in the puddle counts himself a whale. It's important to keep all things - even our sins, especially our sins - in perspective.
Time changes everything, and no one can explain that to you until you get there. A minute can be enough, if it's the right minute; sometimes, things take longer. And you can make progress, even if you don't totally understand what's going on around you - most people don't, even if it seems like it. Stopping is a decision that we forget we made; sometimes we need to be reminded we can start again. Sunrises have to be beautiful. Dawn would be too much to bear without that bit of grace.
I have decided to recommit myself to getting fitter. It's easy to slip off the bandwagon, but the heart needs to be urged to greater activity levels on a regular basis if I don't want to do the dead thing, and I really don't want to do the dead thing, and I really, really don't want to do the have a stroke that leaves me unable to write thing. Harmony wants to join a gym in Plattsburgh & the two of us go together - her friend & her Mom drive into town every day after school to work out, but I have no idea how I could make that happen. Maybe 3 times a week; a 75+ mile round trip is quite a schlep after a work day. We'll see.
The computer's been doing a neat-not-neat-at-all thing where all the programs freeze up and nothing wants to work. So I did a system reset yesterday and cleaned everything; it took a LONG time and most of the day was wasted but now the computer is running like new again, which is a blessing.
I've snagged quite a few books over the past week, including biographies of Margaret Mead and Golda Meier; also a collection of essays and a novel by Umberto Eco, and Dhalgren, because shadesong was talking about it and I'd remembered I'd always meant to read it. So that's the afternoon plan - to take the lawn chair out into the freshly mowed lawn and read until it's time to come up with something for dinner. If that doesn't sound absolutely wonderful, I don't know what to tell you. It would be better if I had someone to read with or to, but one can't have everything. Although if you're nearby and want to curl up in a lawn chair and be Eco-d at, come by. What are Saturday afternoons for?
Life would be so much easier if people would only act and think the way I think they should. Of course, if we took that to its logical conclusion, we'd all be living in little pleasant bits of green surrounded by miles and miles and miles of burnt, salted fields. So maybe it's for the best that that's not happening.
In good news, Harmony is amazing me. Seeing your kid turning into a grown up is pretty neat. So we've got that to smile about.
For a long time, I thought the issue was poor choice making. Lately, though, I'm not so sure of that at all. Perhaps we are meant to struggle against our selves; perhaps it is necessary that better angels require courting. Perhaps it is a thing to know the abyss is ever there and each day not fall, headlong, arms outstretched, into the glorious void. What are we but will given flesh? What we would do, we do; whether those decisions ultimately please us - never no mind others, I never do - is another question entirely.
I'm resolved to make 5 LJ posts a week to get things back in an orderly track. This one doesn't really count, as it's so short, but it's going to need to count as I've a million things to do and not a million hours to do it. Onward, upward, forward, bunnies. Tomorrow will be a better day.
Some of the things
she was sure he hated
he really, really loved.
A spring rain falling
feels better than you think
wet weight like a woman
makes you glad to breathe
every gasp a revelation
And the sun beating down
burns just enough
through the flesh, to the bone
baking you into time
to see and be remembered
Cold winds blowing
slide knifelike through you
it hurts, but you're alive
everything has consequences
and your mind leaps like a deer.
He wouldn't give up none of it
though she thought he would -
these strange, small treasures of his own.
If any one event is a pebble thrown into the puddle of our lives, creating ripples that change the way we see, the way we move, the way, ultimately, that we are, than Viet Nam was a good size boulder dropped from a great height. You didn't have to go to be impacted; in fact, you didn't have to even be alive when it was happening. Those ripples were still tearing things up later, much later, when you were there to bear witness; to bear witness to things you couldn't possibly understand.
I'd World War Two to teach me that monsters reside within most all of us; that we're capable of great evils that no amount of flag-waving can ever justify, but it was the people who went to Viet Nam who taught me about what that meant to have that happen in your life; individually, not abstractly, en masse. What it means to be made use of in a way that runs counter to who you are, deep down inside - to discover, suddenly and with other concrete finality, that you are no more than a piece of the machinery, replaceable, expendable, and ultimately meaningless. To know invisibility as multi-faceted; sometimes a comfort, sometimes a burden, always a presence - to know there is part of you that no one really wants to see hurts more than you might think.
And I as young, so my takeaways were young. Trust nobody. The system is not there to help you. Question authority; their motives are often suspect. Everyone is dangerous. Ultimately, nobody gives a damn about you and the rescue chopper is not coming. People will hold you accountable for things that were not your fault; people will hold you accountable for their feelings and no amount of facts will change that.
Time has gone by. My teachers have kept on teaching, over all these years. How to keep on keeping on. How to not keep on keeping on. How to heal, how to forget, how to demand never to be forgotten. Every bit of this knowledge has been hugely valuable, but still I would not count the cost worth it. My daughter, her friends, they are coming up fast on the age many of the people I knew were when Viet Nam was happening to them. This is changing my understanding of the lessons I learned along the way and the people who taught them. A war can be over for 40 years, and yet it's never done.