Wednesday, July 09, 2008

wistful optimism

I'm feeling a bit out of sorts today. A little depressed, a little regretful, a little hopeful. Sometimes it seems difficult to even sort it all out into anything meaningful, or helpful. But then I have to remember that making it meaningful isn't even what's important. Just feeling it and honoring it is what's important. It doesn't matter what any of it means.

Last night while visiting with Kurt, Meredith and little Noah, we had a brief conversation about what we used to think our lives would be like and how they've actually ended up, at least thus far. naturally it's never what one expects; sometimes it's better, sometimes it's much worse, sometimes it's neither, it's just different. We talked about inner conflict. The way you feel about yourself versus what your life is actually like. I still feel like such a child, so immature, yet I desperately just want to feel like a man, like an adult, like someone that's in control of their life. I want to be a professional, and have a professional life, and feel respectable, and take pride in what I do. And feel secure: physically, financially, emotionally.

My life, I have to say is quite different from what I ever expected. I suppose making a complete 360-degree change when you're 27 from what you'd spent the last 10 years working towards has a tendency to throw one for a loop. And while I'm extremely happy to have landed upon my current path, it's still frustrating sometimes to be around so many people who have so much more of their shit together than I feel like I ever will.

I'm not complaining. I have gobs to be so thankful for in my life right now, and I am, but...I guess I'm just having one of those days.

Today at the library I checked out a book by MFK Fisher, and the very first thing in it is a poem that captures exactly how I feel today.

Why Again

At first, in the immediate impact of grief,
The body lay criss-cross.
The arms were spread out, and the legs stretched.
Gradually the immediate impact of grief grew less.
The legs came up, and crossed at the ankles.
Arms folded softly across the wracked rib cage,
And the abandoned heart softened and came alive again.
The body grew quiescent, receptive,
A chrysalis, not dead
But reviving, curling into a further acceptance of the same
process, the same physical position.

Within, there was still protest.
Why again, asked the vigorous spirit.
This time is surely enough, to be stretched out and pinned,
Pickled in the brine of the spirit.
No, said the spirit.
But the legs straightened and then pulled up,
The wracked arms crossed with gentle resignation over the
And the life began to slow to the waiting throb in the ever-
hollowed still soft bosom.

Everything was ready for more.

- St. Helena, California, 1965


Stacy said...

I love this poem.
I give thanks that my life isn't like I thought it would be...It's challenging, managing a life, but it's what we do here...and thank goodness we don't have to lead a country while we're doing it...there's some peace in knowing that our ripples are smaller.

bryan h. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bryan h. said...

I don't mean to get hung upon the trees at the expense of the forest but a complete 360-degree turn is no change at all, it puts you right back where you started. A 180-degree change is the dramatic one, as it leaves you facing in an entirely new direction.