Of Travels and Readings

I always get melancholy when a good story has something bad happen to the main characters. I also get melancholy when a trip comes to an end. We went to Montreal over the past five days, and I've been diving into The Prince of Tides. It's been a great ride.

It is a great story because it reinforces the fact that no one has had good parents, but that many of us have had better than most. As evidence, we're mostly still here, alive and kicking, with all our limbs intact--if not our psyches.

This book is a great story. It's a human story. It's a poem that goes on forever (or at least as far as 687 pages). It reinforces our ability to continuously question whether we feel satisfied with what we've built as a life, who to blame, and for how long. It makes us notice when we ask ourselves whether we're present at each moment that goes by, whether we can recognize magical experiences of pure living as they ocurr, and what progress we're making in learning to just keep trucking no matter what.

I struggle daily with finding satisfaction with my life course. Did I deviate somewhere? Which metric system should I apply to myself and my efforts to determine a level of success or failure? Should I even bother?

Is anyone ever satisfied with how far they've gotten? That imagined, intangible green grass that our neighbor tends to so expertly is the forever golden carrot urging us on. But urging us on to what?

I know I'm not going anywhere fast, but I love stopping to smell the roses when I do happen upon roses. When I have time off at home and on vacation, I can get lost in doing nothing for hours, while the list of things I should be doing grows and grows. Is experiencing life as it happens without a clock ticking by or an itinerary outlining its usefulness not as valuable a prize as any?

I find it more and more difficult to abide by to-do lists that I can strictly and dutifully complete. I feel annoyed at yet another commitment. I get consumed with a sense of neglectfulness sometimes, but I have to let that come and go. And experience it fully. I can't help it.

Perhaps all I will ever be able to do is enjoy spontaneous moments of utter wonder, as they happenstance appear onto my path.

I'm pleased to also sort-of-belong to the rat race, which makes other people feel productive, though I feel absolutely no attachment to this lifestyle and shrug its ties off expertly by now. I feel no need whatsoever to delve deeper therein.

I would rather be unlabelable than boxable. People get so stuck with their jargon and metrics they tend to apply these to everything they see coming their way. It's depressing. They struggle to force round pegs into square holes. Trying to apply qualifications of an apple to an orange, and vice versa is inefficient and will undoubtedly only lead into a sea of discomfiture.

It seems as if our entire life ranges on a peak and valley run of discomfort and bliss. Never finding the exact frequency of a happy middle between the two. Pins and needles and lush comforters. Ermine and pine needles. Toil and comfort. Pulling and pushing. That is the stuff that life is made of: extremes.