Lofty dreams and ambitions. “Shoot the moon. Even if you miss you got somewhere.” It’s all pretty romantic but captivating. I’ve hung with it since I was too young to know how far away is the moon.
The best part of my life has always been accessible open space. Until 2003, I always lived where there was less of that than there were houses, buildings, stores and people, but I always found enough to keep me happy, learning, exploring. As I’ve written stories and painted paintings and taught people to write, I’ve quietly and almost unconsciously moved toward the dream that has wrapped within it no ambition except itself.
Lately I’ve seen a fox out by “my” golf-course. We’ve had a warm and open fall and the golfers are still playing, even with all the fallen leaves and now the night-time frozen grass. I honor them for this. We’re sharing our golf course now and we’re good with that. They race around the 9 holes, some pushing their golf-clubs, some with their own carts, one or two has showed up with their ATV. It’s not a lot of golfers, maybe two a day, if that.
And I wander through with one or two big dogs, “How’s it going?” “Kinda’ late for golf, I know, but it’s such a pretty day!” “Have fun!” That kind of conversation.
To the north of the golf course is the driving range which is a pasture. Beyond the pasture is a pond that comes off the river. Usually by now are a lot of ducks, but this year? No. Last week, I stopped beside the fence to appreciate the sky and the mountains and scared something out of the bushes. A fox. She jumped straight up in the air then ran a few feet, spun around and looked at us. I guess she decided Dusty and Bear were either a threat or pals. She struck a charming puppy pose and looked at us like, “I’m no threat guys. Wanna’ play?”
I saw her last winter, or last May when we got a foot of snow. She was running across the end of the driving range in the snow and fog like a dream.
Sometimes I think of the lofty aspirations, dreams and ambitions of my younger life, knowing, now, all the obstacles that exist between that arrow and the moon. As it has turned out, the highest moments of my life are those I’ve shared with a wild animal or a vista so immense that all that remained for me was, in Goethe’s words, “…wordless beholding.” You cannot strive toward those things. You can only be present.