Maybe I have changed. Clearing the downspouts of birch leaves in a light rain at fifty-three degrees while wearing shorts and short sleeves and being barefoot is something I have never done before. That I felt warm and completely comfortable while doing it is, I think, as good a sign as the early fall rain, which is drenching everything in fine winter style. Fifty-three, of course, is not cold. The shower I had earlier this morning after a barefoot stroll through the wet grass was. It is amazing what a body can become accustomed to, and how quickly it adapts. But the greatest joy comes from the good fortune of being able. Soap, water, a safe space, a clean towel — there is no guarantee that such wealth will last. And yet not one bit of good can come from fretting about what one imagines as a regretful future. The present is regretful — and beautiful — enough. It is also the only time and place change is possible. Have you ever tried changing in the future?
September 28, 2021
You Will Forgive Me
Mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, workmate, schoolmate, soulmate, husband, wife, friend: we are all teachers, and we must be aware of what we teach. Is it laziness? Arrogance? Do we teach our children the senseless distraction of video games and television while letting our wives do all the work? Do we teach violence and guns and car crashes, political hatred, inequality, and racism? Do we laugh at the unfortunate? Do we call the homeless lazy, without the slightest thought of their individual life stories or circumstances? Or do we, perhaps, when we feel weary and too tired to carry on, pick ourselves up, clean the house, cook a meal, put flowers on the table, and plant a garden, even on the window sill? Do we roar and lash out, or do we smile and help? Are we willing, in other words, to see our selves in ourselves? Or will we go to our graves defeated and angry, outraged and sad, victims of our own tragic, selfish, blind inattention? Now, through it all — and this too goes to the very heart of teaching — it is imperative that we ask no one, tell no one, expect no one, to change. We can only change ourselves, and sometimes that change takes many lifetimes, even those lived in the course of a single day. And the glorious immediacy of it all, this walk accompanied each instant by the possibility of sudden death: don’t you feel it? — that even now, there is an eternity of no time left, with ever so much living and loving and learning to do?
Recently Banned Literature, January 24, 2017
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Tags: Arrogance, Attention, Awareness, Bare Feet, Barefoot Journal, Beauty, Birches, Change, Cold, Cold Showers, Death, Diaries, Fall, Flowers, Hate, Homelessness, Journals, Love, Rain, Regret, Teachers