30 June 2015
Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. ~Franz Kafka
Sunrise seeps into the dawn light, rose tints blushing slender streaks of clouds. Bird song vibrates through the air, an osprey’s sharp, chatty call claiming territory in a new day.
I’m on vacation with family in the Sierras this week. The rambling house is still quiet this morning, dreaming lingers, the few shifts of movement are shuffled with sleep.
I am among people who have known me since my first year of college, my husband’s family. The richness of history collectively held by us all spills out at random moments to break us all up into hilarity or sift into us poignantly. The bonds here are deep and long and rewarding.
Through the decades, there have been some years when participation in this annual vacation felt more obligatory than pleasurable, but now I treasure the bonds, savor how the past weaves through the present. Not the least of the many gifts here is that of witnessing our lives, ourselves, unfold.
Two young girlfriends, newcomers this year, remind me of myself venturing into this host of unfamiliar traditions, into patterns different from those of my own family. I recall my anxious desire to win the stamp of approval, the hope to fit in and yet remain myself. That’s been easier at times than others. It’s most doable now. Advantages of experience and age.
I’m old enough now to view the years passing too quick. Old enough now to have walked alongside death as it claimed parents. Old enough to notice the changes in my own body that are beyond control and far beyond anything I desire. I’d like to look into the mirror and be just fine with the wrinkles etching around my eyes in a progression as inevitable as the dawn, but I’m not there. I can’t really even spot that vantage point yet.
But here’s what I can see better than ever— how much there is to be grateful for.
World problems that trouble me deeply have not been solved. There is much I hope to accomplish yet. I have so much to learn in terms of communicating, loving, living fully. Yet, I’m also old enough now to understand on a cellular basis that it will be over for me. Forever. And probably too soon.
There is a razor’s edge here. Of being among the future, the children that have grown into the young adults that now grapple, like we did, with how to make sense of their lives and the world they are engaging, creating, knowing there are so many obstacles that need tending, so many changes that need effort. Of being here among the past, and seeing how life has a power that moves us all forward, that affects us in ways we cannot anticipate, that both wears us down and lifts us up. Of being here now, balancing life as we’ve come to know it with life as it could be.
The rose tint of the sky has faded. Slanting golden sun rays finger their way into the towering pines. Another sunrise gone for good.
What’s the day hold today? This one unique day. Let the singing ring out. Let the pain be held. Let us take this day to heart.