Bird Droppings November 11, 2009
Clearing a pathway
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Elwyn Brooks White
Often I reflect on the journey of life. The many directions I myself have traveled and as I travel I watch others step by step along the way. I listen as some stumbled and are lifted up when pebbles and or boulders are in the way. There are choices at times which pathway to take as a fork approaches and we have to choose. As I have read over the years it is so much better to help others and clear the way if an obstacle is on the trail.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it.” Christopher Morley, Thunder on the Left
“Life is a cement trampoline.” Howard Nordberg
Wondering why so many of us each day think, perhaps too much obsessing over reasons and rationale tripping over our own inadequacies and imperfections. Are we truly desperate or is this a façade to cover up are lack of enthusiasm and desire. I wonder when I see a young person acting as a mime standing still facing an empty wall and unable to move forward or back, simply immobile dressed in funeral attire waiting for an end.
What has slowed their journey to this point? What is it they have missed along their own pathway as we cross? Why has the enthusiasm for life dwindled to this point?
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” Erich Fromm
“To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach.” Havelock Ellis
There really is no road map and no specific travel itinerary as we journey along each day being totally unique for me and for you. Nietzsche offers a that if we have a why we have a reason to live. Fromm simplifies further only a happy moment or a bright morning is all that is needed. Ellis states living an art form, life is an art form perhaps it is the wielding of the brushes and what colors we utilize as we paint. Several years ago a movie starring Robin Williams was out “What Dreams may come”. The author of the book researched extensively on the afterlife, nearly six pages of references in the back of the book. But a scene that caught my attention was as Robin Williams realized that he was painting the world around him as he thought.It was his attitudes and concerns that altered the surroundings, the colors would change and hues fluctuated as he walked about.
“You cannot discover the purpose of life by asking someone else – the only way you’ll ever get the right answer is by asking yourself.” Terri Guillemets
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Albert Camus
“Following straight lines shortens distances, and also life.” Antonio Portia, Voices, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merlin
We set the boulders in our own pathway; and yet we throw out the pebbles that force us to stumble. We end up creating the forks in the road that force us to choose. I would not have it any other way as I step along the path. But as well we need to be aware than we must also clear the pathway so others do not stumble or trip on what we leave behind. We also must make the choices as to which road to follow. I see my life’s map as a series of zigs and zags, what might have been an easy journey constantly side tracked. Once it was a straight line between A and B now the page is covered in this way or that in back tracking and circumventing in over stepping and under stepping. It is in climbing boulders and in pushing some out of the way. In the past I have used at the end of Bird Droppings a saying by a Native American Orator from back in the day as my youngest son says.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
For many this may not mean anything it has been years now since I could hear a buffalo snort and walk across the pasture and see the breath blown in the cool of winter. It has been years since I have seen fireflies dance across my front field now covered in houses and roads. But I still see the little shadow as the sunsets and I still hear the breeze in the morning, our scenery changes but life does go on. With a new wet morning ahead of me please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.