At this stage in my life that could be called “the late stage” I have more or less concluded that most of what we say we agree on is really just a matter of perspective. The picture you have in your mind when I recall a moment walking along a South Carolina beach is different than the place I see—yet we both nod our heads in unison and remember it as being a very nice walk.
It’s like that TV show scenario where the defense attorney paints the evidence against his client in one way and the prosecution weighs in with the exact opposite point of view and each expects the jury to decide which picture is the most accurate.
I have read many biographical snippets about the life of this or that particular poet in the introductions to their books. While much of what is said is no doubt true I am sure the poet had no idea that they were living out this or that interpretation of his or her ups and downs as well as successes and failures.
All of this to say that most of us must live lives far below Socrates examined life. Images of my childhood and teen years are hidden in the shadows of my vast memory banks. And I could spend days trying to figure out why I haven’t talked to my younger brother in over ten years. Not that he has made it easy for me and kept in touch himself—I don’t even know where he lives. The path or paths that led us to this place are cold analytics that any good author could turn into a prize winning novel—antagonist and protagonists—ebb and flow, etc. Add one part unfulfilled parents with two parts small mid-west town childhood—simmer and serve over a bed of disappointment and you have a story that has been repeated time and time again.
If I were to plumb these depths who would the plumbing be for—my release or your entertainment? I often wonder what it would be like to have been Vincent van Gogh in his paint driven state. To walk the galleries in New York’s Metropolitan Museum and see his crazy layered brush strokes up close and personal is somewhat like getting a whiff of what it must have been like to be him. Single minded to the point of disfunction—a slow train to the outer reaches of the artist’s psyche. Strip away all the excess and he was just a wounded guy standing in front of another wounded person and hoping to be loved and accepted.
I like what Czeslaw Milosz says in a poem called “Late Ripeness”. The last line in this poem states…”I knew, always, that I would be a worker in the vineyard, as are all men and women living at the same time, whether they are aware of it or not.”
Even though my daily life is filled with uncertainty, I try to keep my faith pure and simple. As the world fills itself up with weaponry, I still long for and have hope that one day the lion will lay down with the lamb and we will study war no more. Although I must admit that at present, this seems like a “pipe dream” indeed.
Have a great ride!