Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fairy Tale

“Can you tell me that story now, Mom. Please?”
“There is a planet, hanging in space, hanging in the balance and waiting to be found wanting. Part land, but mostly water, it could be described as beautiful, complicated, both fragile and resilient. It is a bit of a mess these days.
A long time ago it worked. Life wasn’t necessarily easy or even very long, as it still isn’t for so many of this planet’s inhabitants, but there was an understanding between all the creatures and... life lived, died, disappeared and reemerged. Existence went on, even if individuals did not.
Then one group of beings decided they were better than all the rest. And agreed among themselves they had the rights to comfort, safety, obedience, long lives and dominance over all others. They no longer hunted for their food, they demanded it grew right where they were. They began to get soft and lazy with pudgy minds and, losing their connection with the rest of what lived on the planet, they broke away. As they took over, some of the other species hid in another part of this world, now forgotten.
These soft, lazy broken creatures created ways to make things simpler for themselves, while making it difficult for everything else. Their single-mindedness rivalled that of a weasel about to kill a rabbit. Utterly focused on one thing, themselves, they lost their place in Everything.
After a while they began to notice they didn’t always get things right and, as they were not bad just lost, they tried to fix things. But they were too far gone. Too split from what made them part of Everything and, on some level, they realized this didn’t make them happy. Whole industries were created to make them happy – entertainment, pharmaceutical (that means medicine), therapy. Still they were not happy. They argued whether they should save the plants, or the animals, or themselves. Puffed up with their own self-importance different groups made big claims as to what the solutions were. But not enough looked to the rest of the planet for advice and those who did often didn’t want to go back to that visceral way of living (What does vizzsherall mean? This means using your instincts rather than your mind) – they had lost their stomach for it. They were weak now, thinking only with their minds. Hardly any suggested just stopping what they were doing. Bigger new ways of fixing things, better ways of living all were suggested and argued against.
The broken ones invented new gods, made grand plans, they discovered new ways to fight with each other and nothing was fixed. Some decided that world peace was the solution and would fight to the death with anyone who didn’t agree, but peace was never part of how this world first worked. It was life and death, just on a less personal level than war and anger.”
“What happened to this world Mom?”
“It’s still out there, battling on.”
“I feel sorry for it.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


“When something is gone, and I mean completely, irretrievably gone, there comes a calm, if only for a short time before all the other emotions kick in.
“Stay in this moment as long as you can. It is a gift.
“Of course the most obvious example of this type of finality would be death, but in truth it could be the end of a relationship, a loss of a job, the collapse of a dream, the implosion of everything you believed to be true - whenever you realize you cannot change or fix anything.
“Because there’s nothing left to fix.
“But on the other hand you can’t break anything further either. What it is, is just what it is. It’s the simplest, quietest, clearest moment you will ever have. Nothing else matters and nothing is all you have.
“Nothing absolute.
“It just is.
“You’ve become a bystander. What you feel or need no longer really matters. Your part is over, you’ve done your bit. You’re on the outside now. You don’t even get to look in at the window, the curtains have been drawn.
“Life carries on regardless, but before you’re swept back into its current, savour the peacefulness that comes with finality. And know there’s strength in your helplessness. Think of the desolation after the worst storm you can imagine. Nothing will ever be the same, but something will take root and grow – you just don’t know it yet.
“It’s okay. You’ll be alright”

Be Careful About Hope and Why

“Be careful about hope.
“The thing about hope is this: It’s all well and good when what you’re hoping for is realized, but when you hope and hope and what you hope for never arrives, then it can catch you, drag you down like prey and eat you from the inside until you’re not much more than a husk.
“Hope is what keeps you running to the phone with your heart in your mouth every time it rings. Hope is what forces you look deep into someone’s eyes to see if love is still there.... Hope is what gives you that gut wrench of excitement when a glimmer arrives in your life, only for it to be torn away like a sail cloth in a storm.
“Hope is another way of saying desperate.”
“Sure hope is fine if it all works out the way you want, but most times it’s better just to let go. Letting go is more freeing that hope and does just as much good. It doesn’t mean you have to stop going through the motions, it just means you’re no longer tied to jumping through hope’s rings. You’re standing on your own two feet and taking control.
“And if what you hope for does happen, well then you can have unfettered joy. Joy that doesn’t ride in on the back of hope, but stands alone as one pure moment of unexpected happiness.

“Best just to throw a cold bucket of reality on hope’s fire.  Carry an ember with you if you must, but move on.”

Halfway through the word antelope, in a deserted campsite in northern Colorado I stopped writing.
We'd been travelling for a few weeks and I had been keeping a diary of all that had happened since we left Tonasket and headed through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming then Colorado.  And then I realized I wasn't really interested in writing about the daily sights, sounds, life-as-we-know-it kind of moments.  I was more interested in writing about the spin-offs.  The emotions, the tangents created when my mind goes off in several directions at once in response to some event.
And from then on, throughout the whole of our journey through the western states of the US I didn't pick up a pen, or type anything more than Facebook updates.
So much has happened, terrible things, in the past few months.  One of our beloved dogs went missing and we found her body six weeks later, we were under serious pressure to find a place to live back in the Okanogan Highlands before school started and the winter arrived.  We had a really odd car accident and then a spin-out on the ice, Steve's grandma died, and on and on.  Things really piled up.  But 2014 is now over.  We have a place to live for the winter, right next to where we were living before, talk about coming full circle, life is settling into a pattern of school, skiing, Steve searching for a job and all is calm.
And out of all the sadness, in fact a way of filling my mind so as not to think about things too much, I started writing a book.  The difficult times may be over, but I'm 20,000 words in and committed to it. In fact I love it.
Good things arising from the ashes of the bad.
The Hope Speech above is a part of the book and I'm going to add another piece of writing from the first draft called Finality.   And then another one about choices.  I think this is the way my blog will develop rather than talking about day to day living.  It'll will be more about what I'm taking out of life.
And perhaps these kinds of lessons are things I can actually hope for without fear of Hope failing me.