Thursday, April 15, 2010

Roaring Cliche (but useful nevertheless)

I’ve often cited Andy Rooney’s metaphor for life: a roll of toilet paper that keeps going faster the closer it gets to its end. But (poseur alert), I'll instead use a cliche rushing headlong toward its sea, buffeted by the rocks of days, sometimes dammed up, but then bursting through with unstoppable energy, racing and then meandering through all terrains, from the still spring of its mountaintop to the coastal plain below, its roar now quieted, its pace slowed, depositing into the delta all the nutrient rich detritus accumulated during its journey, yielding new life as it joins the great ocean beyond.

But seriously….

During the last several years, the days and weeks and months and years do indeed seem to roll by ever faster. It could be a function of working in a stimulating job, but more likely it’s the simple and profound fact that I’m embraced by a warm and loving family every day that I come home. That’s something many others do not have. Yes, I have experienced grief without depth (but who hasn’t, or won’t?), but when profiled against the utter misery and despair visited upon millions of people throughout the world, my life is beyond good, beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

That gives me the luxury of contemplation which, if you were to ask my family, I do in great quantity. Sometimes, the wonder and the magic of life can literally take my breath away. There are moments of such spacious and transcendent beauty that I just know, know, that I’ve tasted a tiny dollop of the nectar. In those moments, one understands how ill-equipped and unprepared we are as humans to fully grasp such boundless clearness without being blinded in all of our senses. There really aren’t words that describe what we would be blinded by. But getting a glimpse of that clarity surely means that one is not simply imagining things. One is experiencing them, albeit in necessarily small doses, but enough to make the logical conclusion that something is truly there. It’s like my West Virginia forebears who would go down to the railroad tracks and scoop up coal spilled from the passing coal trains for their fireplace. Even if they didn’t see any cars or any locomotive, there was a track and there was coal along it. So, there must be a coal train.