Sunday, October 11, 2015

awake

Sometimes all a soul needs is a heavy wrestling match, a good night's sleep, a long look at everything scary. Once fears have been assessed, abated, there is nowhere to go but up, onward, to the next; goodbye, idle melancholy! Hello, calm center, I have missed you, you boundless giver of oxygen.

If soul is missing from the work, bring soul with you. The reason death becomes a day-job is because apathy is so appealing at first. Eventually, there are drawers full of miscellany, seventeen forks to wash, a missing bowl, and paper everywhere. Funny thing, I don't clip pictures of chaos for inspiration. I am drawn to beauty. I am drawn out by the finishing touch. Beauty and order; beauty and the order of my choosing; and yet, I don't choose it, very much.

There is a story I've heard, about a little bird. Actually, the story is about a wise old man on a mountain, but what a cliched way to begin. I'll begin there anyway, and make sentences to fill in the details I forget.

On a mountain, above a village, lived a wise old man. It was said he knew everything there was to know. Legend had it that you could ask this man anything, and he would have the right answer. Two young men decided to trick the old man. One captured a small bird, and said to the other, "We'll climb up, and, holding the bird in my hands, will ask him, 'Is the bird alive, or is the bird dead?' If he says the bird is alive, I'll crush it and kill it. If he says the bird is dead, I'll open my hands and the bird will fly away. Either way, we've got him." They decided this was a very good plan and began their ascent.

When they reached the house where the old man lived, they knocked, and out he came. "Old man," said one younger, holding clasped hands out as he spoke, "Is the bird alive, or is the bird dead?" The wise man thought to himself, "If I say the bird is alive, they'll crush it and kill it. If I say the bird is dead, they'll let the bird go. Either way they've got me."

He paused another moment more, and then looked at the young men with conviction.
His answer, rightly, came: "The bird is as you will it."


My life is full of little birds, each taking their turn in my tightening grip. I can give life to the idea, or, I can crush it and kill it. Call these past few days a mountaintop, and perspective, now, my village; in my life I can live or not, the worth is as I will it.

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