nice to see you once again. I must admit time has been flying lately & I didn’t expect to see you quite so soon. But, of course, you’re very welcome all the same. It’s been a while, you know, since I took the time to reflect on life as it passes. That’s why I’ve been sitting here for some time now, feeling unsure where to start & why to start at all. What seemed like a great idea at first, starts to feel like quite a daunting task right now.
The thing is, somewhere about halfway August, I got a little overwhelmed by life. I’m not quite sure why or when it happened. I suppose the simple fact of time passing & life happening just got the better of me somehow. All the people I love most seemed further away somehow. And I missed them even more than usually, even more than I thought I would. It got me worrying about a time when that missing would have to become a permanent state of being. And that thought didn’t make me miss them less. I worried about my cat who’s getting older instead of younger, as I’ve always instructed her to.
I suppose, as days went by, I felt set apart by time & space for reasons I still don’t understand. And even though, I was doing the things I love to do, I wasn’t loving them the way I used to do.
I felt frustrated that, despite of the summer, the world was still falling apart on my TV screen. Cars turning into killers, mud streams turning into weapons of mass destruction & displaced people turning into human bargains on both land and sea. There was talk of nuclear bombs, which had seemed a thing of the past as I was growing up. My mind flooded with images of men in far away rooms, talking about making big gestures & ready to take rash decisions. I began to think of that Josh Ritter song I have always loved so much, a song about a man with his hand above the button. A love song about the possible end of the world. I was no longer sure how to love those poetic words with the same sense of comforting detachment.
I think I just wanted July and August to be good to the world. And to me. I wanted the days to be full of sunshine, to spend my time making the sort of memories that last a lifetime. I suppose I needed this summer to be a break from the world as it is. The way a summer should be. But it simply wasn’t happening. Instead, everything felt rushed & unsettled, as I sat and wished for everything to fall into place again. I waited impatiently for life to course correct all of itself & all of me. Such a small request to make….how hard could it really be?
One morning, it was a quarter to seven, I was cycling home through the early morning. The sun came up, batching the world around me in golden light & suddenly showering me with a renewed sense of expectation. I stopped what I was doing, got off my bicycle & took a long moment to take it all in. The sun as it quietly rose higher & higher. The water in the creek below gently passing; its course adjusted by men many a times, but its stubborn will to keep moving forever unaltered. Birds overhead, the sound of traffic in the distance, a sleepy town waking up to an ordinary, extraordinary August day in the year 2017.
And I was there. Really there. Breathing in, breathing out. Reconnecting with myself & the world around me. It wasn’t anything too mystical, nothing too wishy washy, it was just me reminding myself of the world & all its everyday charm. The beauty of a daybreak. The simple glory of everyday life as it unfolded around me. It was me reminding myself that nobody & nothing was going to change the world for me. Nothing would stop time from passing. And no one would ever set everything straight. How silly to think that summertime was ever going to be a guarantee for a perfect world. I had to stop waiting for everything to turn out fine. Life simply doesn’t work like that. Like that river below me, life was always going to be course corrected and altered by time, mankind & all other things I might never understand everything about. And, standing there, batching in that golden light, I found a way to be at peace with that knowledge as I have been many times before.
So, that’s what happened this summer, dear September, that’s what I needed to write about. About life shaking me; both shaking me up & then shaking me awake. It’s been confusing. It wasn’t what I expected. But it’s been good & it’s been necessary. It made me look harder for the things that really matter. It forced me to try new things & explore different viewpoint. I suppose & hope that it helped me grow in ways I might one day fully understand.
I’m wishing you all the best, September, and please make sure to say goodbye to August on its way out.
Josh Ritter – Temptation of Adam