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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Time, Life, and That Perfect Moment of Clarity

This road upon which we all travel; this path we call "life"
is one on which we can never see the end.
We cannot know the destination, or the route we must take to get there.
The only thing we can see clearly
is the path that lies behind us;
a past marked by the decisions we have made.
Copyright © 2012 by Ralph F. Couey 

This has been a busy year, to which the reduced production on this website attests.  I lost a job, got a job, moved, sold one house, bought another.  My son, anticipating a possible relocation, is selling his house, and he and his family have moved in with my wife and I.  In the press of these events, I just haven’t had the time to devote to the kind of reflective contemplative writing that I’ve done in the past.  

The election this year left me mentally exhausted and emotionally drained.  As I’ve written before, I was once very passionate about politics, but a course in Critical Thinking, and application of those strict evidentiary processes to the wares of the political marketplace revealed to me the breadth and depth of the blatant lies being sold as fact by both Democrats and Republicans.  I found within myself the startling realization that it no longer mattered to me who won.  I became instead a dispassionate observer, sort of like a visitor to a zoo.  What wore me out was the incessant pounding of my senses with statements I already knew to be false, and the apparent willingness of partisan voters to blindly follow their leaders.

I reconsidered my future over the course of several long motorcycle rides through the lovely and peaceful Virginia countryside.  I am 57 years old.  Over the next 10 to 15 years, I will slowly feel my mental faculties begin to fail.  My circle of awareness, that orb that describes the universe of my concerns, will begin to shrink.  Therefore, it matters little who sits in the White House or who controls the houses of congress.  I will eventually become blissfully unaware of the larger events of the world and stay that way until the time comes for me to board that bus to eternity.

I have a wife who needs my love and concern.  I have children (grown adults, really) whom I love and admire; who still call from time to time and ask my advice.  I have grandchildren whose only desire is to have fun with Grampa.  That’s where my attentions should lie while I still have attention to pay.

One can get so caught up in the routine of life that the passage of time becomes a forgotten thing.  Most people I know have gone through the same experience of waking up one morning and realizing that, as Captain Picard once said, “There are fewer days ahead than there are behind.”  Our bodies have grown stiffer, perhaps more frail.  I’ll never forget the last day I played softball.  I was thrown out at first base by the left fielder.  Going back to the bench, I felt very, very old.  The harsh truth is that things will get worse as the years pass.  I see people in their 70’s and 80’s plodding along the street, if they’re not being rolled in a wheelchair, age having robbed them of their vitality and intellect.  I know now that they are a mirror.  That will be me, all too soon.  

There are two rules about time:

1.  People get old.

2.  No one can change rule Number 1.

I will do everything I can to stay active, both mentally and physically as long as I possibly can.  And this is all I can do.  The other thing is to try to focus on the here and now, taking my joys and pleasures from the love of my family and friends, and the beauty of our natural world.  Yesterday and today our area was blessed with wonderful weather, sunny and warm.  I took advantage of the time and rode through the forests and mountains, drinking in the landscape, and breathing the delightful smells of autumn.  I spent those golden hours thinking about the now rather than the future.  I found, for the first time in several months, that peaceful place in my soul where I can retreat from the harsh realities of life.

It is, I realized, so important that in the midst of this flurry and fury of that thing we call “life,” we need to take a few moments, unplug…

…and just be.
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