The Deeper In

PretoriaDayCelebrations
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
  Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Life is funny that way. The rhythm and flow of years seem to pass so slowly when we are young and so fleeting as we are deeper in. The pain, laughter, loss and love we experience is being experienced by every human in the entire world. We never stop to think that the man right behind us in the grocery store is having the best day of his life or the woman waiting in the subway tunnel is contemplating suicide. Our lives are so encapsulated that we miss . . . well, life. Of course, we notice things: a laughing child , a malnourished animal, a crippled man, a zipping hummingbird, a cop sitting alone, the braggadocios colors of fall, an angry driver, a cold wind, the smell of a nursing home, a shady character lingering in a parking lot, a forgotten picture on your phone, the tender cheeks of a newborn, a yard that needs to be tended, the bold freckles on a woman’s face, joy of found money, a cool shade, the pain of losing someone, waves rolling into shore . . .

Walt Whitman described the world as “the plodding and sordid crowds” around us. Are we merely observers, plodding through life? Are we to rise at a given time, move to a destination, contribute our daily task, repeat our lines on cue, eat, and sleep? If so, how do we escape the cyclic and mundane? It was Thoreau who wrote,  “I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.” Then again, who is the one to say that someone is living life to its fullest and someone is not. Would you consider a part of your life as having contained “useless years”? For many, it is the reason to give up or believe that too much time has gone by to begin anew. A wasted life, so what is the point? Life is still happening all around. Do not be simply a bystander. Participate. Engage. The how is solely up to you.

 

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