It is the end of the day. I sit, roll a smoke and think about my day, my life. Mostly, I think of how lucky I am. I’ve been able to experience and do things in life that few others could handle. Growing up in the early seventies, I was imbued with a good dose of idealism when I was a teen, an idealism I’ve carried with me into middle age.
Born in the US, I have never forgotten entering adolescence during the time of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, Nixon and MacNamara mingling with Captain Kirk and Gilligan on the television after school. My teen years were awash in sangria (Yago- I’ll never forget the brand), the freedom of the American automobile culture, joints rolled in strawberry flavored rolling papers, and sex without the worry of fatal disease. Now in my early forties, I’ve traveled the world, successfully developed a business, owned and lived on a large farm, and now for the last four years, settled in Europe - re-immigrating back to where my ancestors came from.
I pause now in my ramblings and think of the light sparkling across the water in front of the station as I made my way to work this morning. I often stop to watch light and color dance with each other. There is a marriage of delight. When light appears, color rises to make it breakfast. How lucky I am to see this.
Of course I’ve had my share of bad luck - bad business deals, alcoholism and drug addiction, lost loves (including a failed marriage) and a father that deserted me long ago. I’ve seen enough of life now to know that these things have their place and importance in my life as well as all the good and beautiful things. When we live life to the fullest we get all that it offers, and life is neither black nor white but a multicolored mélange like the bouquets of flowers at the market near my house. Grace has overcome me as I’ve grown older and I can finally see the gigantic cycles which turn in my life, the lives of others, and the universe we all live in.
As for the people that have left me behind, I have nothing but compassion for them. I hope that those I have left behind have found a way to forgive me for my leaving. We are all forever dying and being reborn simultaneously; this change is the true nature of all things. Even my own strong sense of self and my own power, which I thought when I was younger to be substantial, has become as ethereal and unremarkable as a cloud. If you look up, you might see its striking form but in a moment its shape has changed and it’s drifted on. I have found that place inside me that is floating, formless and eternal. There is freedom in this state, freedom that words could never describe.
Soon I shall lie down and say my prayer; it’s a prayer I’ve said since childhood. In Buddhism I’ve read that there is a state to be reached, nirvana, which is free from desire and thus free from suffering. Yet desire is what we humans are made of; our drive, our ambitions and our dreams. It is the wishing and the wanting. From this I know, at least in this world, I shall never be free. Now I lay my head down and I let desire form the prayer in my heart and mind as I fall into sleep.
Peace I ask for - let there be peace.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Bill Piccolo.
Published on e-Stories.org on 16.01.2005.