I’ve definitely been feeling glum, unusual for this time of year when the weather starts getting good and the cranes are here, and and and and… I think it’s the result of the political events of the past several years, Covid, life’s ordinary (sometimes immense) challenges. The cherry on the sundae was falling and hurting my shoulder, an injury that is only now starting to feel like it might be healed. I fell on August 2. It’s fucking November now. “Just stop it already!” Right?
I’m tired and discouraged. I felt like I needed a break (but from WHAT????) “The mind is its own place and, in itself can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.” – John Milton
For a while I thought it would be good to take a little journey over Christmas. I soon discovered that the ONLY place I wanted to go was Descanso, California. I wanted to take Bear up on the trails I trod so often in the Friendly Mountains.
I even found the perfect cabin in my former mountains complete with a fenced yard for the dogs. I even KNOW the place and the spot. Four days total in the car, three nights in the cabin, something like $2000. Wow. Still, I marked the cabin with a ❤ and closed my laptop having realized that I don’t necessarily want to go to Descanso. I want to go back in time 18 years, before my first hip went south, when I was running/hiking 12 miles at a stretch. Ha ha ha ha!!!
I don’t know when it happened — probably I was raised with it, definitely had an exemplary role model at home in my father — but I’ve always been a stoic. Lest you think that means someone is like a statue and doesn’t feel anything, that’s not the case. Part of life is feeling. Stoicism is just a way to live (IMO). It means that a person is prepared to accept (possibly after a little whining 😉 ) the “vicissitudes of fortune” (fancy language for “rock with it” or “hang in there” or “take the bitter with the sweet” or “put a good face on it” — even “bite the bullet”).
One of the most beautiful expression of stoicism is in Blake’s little poem:
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise
We humans aren’t easily satisfied or, in any case, not easily satisfied for long. Maybe we always want something we can’t have. Maybe we always think that there is something ELSE that will fix everything, fix our lives, whatever. The thing I “want” is something I’ve seldom found and then only for moments at a time. That is also the nature of human experience. So I’m here, now, with this imperfect body and a dirt road across the ancient lake. It’s perfect, and there is no time machine and no $2000 either!
I guess I’d better just put a good face on it and go clean up the dog shit, a bit challenging in 3 inches of fallen leaves. 😀
Featured photo: My oil painting of the Friendly Mountains (Garnet Peak) in winter, 2004, a few months after the Cedar Fire when the trees looked like vine charcoal against the white paper snow.