Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful for the Life We Have


This is what life does. It lets you walk up to  
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a  
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have  
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman  
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night,  
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder, 
is this a message, finally, or just another day?  
Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the 
pond, where whole generations of biological  
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds 
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper, 
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old  
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old? 
There is movement beneath the water, but it  
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.  
And then life suggests that you remember the  
years you ran around, the years you developed 
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon, 
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are 
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have 
become. And then life lets you go home to think 
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.  
Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one 
who never had any conditions, the one who waited 
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that 
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave, 
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you  
were born at a good time. Because you were able  
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you 
stopped when you should have and started again.  
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your 
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And  
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,  
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,  
with smiles on their starry faces as they head 
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.


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