I think the most interesting time in a man’s life is when he is not in the thrall of his hormones, compelled as if in a trance to what has been called “ a debt to nature.” There is an honesty in that time that seems to wane with the slings and arrows of time. There is also a unique lack of self examination as there are emotions there that are inarticulate. But they are there nonetheless.
At that age there is a clarity never to be regained no matter how much knowledge one packs into a suitcase as if hoarding and collecting various facts, theories and observations of the world from others could bring that clear vision back.
I some ways in adulthood and into the final years, I am looking for simplicity, an elegant solution.
What I find is complexity, buried truths and a great deal of lies. You just can’t quit and join another species. Sometimes I wish I could.
What do I remember and what did I forget becomes secondary to what became of that kid and more importantly way beyond that, what became of the others I knew? Somehow we were all waylaid, set up and processed like so many string beans placed into a can and that strikes me as just one detour, that is, working for a living. One among many.
Some folks barely tolerate working for a living as an abstraction while others, nearly their entire identity is built upon what they do as “professionals”. Some resist, some fold. At the same time we call those who live in the natural world and pick or fish their foods without a profession, primitive.
What strings this all along are the stories we tell ourselves, our own world of mythologies, some are original. some are borrowed. Some are hateful some are wistful. In all this, stuff that was once a part of us is strewn alongside a highway like litter. No recycling bin for this stuff.
Some grow to loathe themselves while others fancy themselves to be geniuses in disguise. Some use too many words some remain distrustful of words themselves. Some adopt a persona carefully crafted in a intentional manner and some play out a role that someone else wrote for them.
All this rolls along down a dusty country lane shaded by trees today bordered by old ramshackle houses, remote outposts lined with fences complete with barking dogs and roaming horses. These places I have an affinity toward. Not exactly a full retreat but a need for the solace of nature. No severe right angles as found more and more today all around us. No more broadcasting without the speaker having the ability to receive signals.
My ambition is shrinking as is my world as is my interest in investing a great deal into anything other than being among trees or sitting by a river and of course, the scrapbook I carry around in my head. The culture around me is obsessed with productivity. I could care less.
Maybe that innocence is returning as well as that clarity. Be a passerby. What others think of me hardly ever crosses my mind as my time shrinks and yet the universe expands under my feet.
An ant becomes a work of some exquisite unknown art. Maybe the less we are, the more we are.
Voices here in the South have a musicality to them. I hear people singing as much as I hear the birds praising their creation by songs, too many to recount. You have to hear them for yourself.
I went into a diner last night and an African American woman behind the counter greeted me with a broad smile.
She said “Welcome home”
Somewhere out there in the universe in a place unknown...a circle was closed.