“You ought to take Asher up to see the leaves,” Drie mentioned one day a couple of weeks ago, "the boy is really enjoying the transition and looking forward to winter. He knows his birthday can't be far behind." We were well into the project of putting a new roof on the house and the process of playing catch-up in getting ready for the winter that approaches. Yeah, the predictable happened. The colors came and went for the most part before I was able to take the youngest boy out to see a few of the leaves before the bulk came down in the last couple of storms that came through. I saw it coming, and I wasn’t able to prevent it.
Did I have some time to put into the deed? Yep. Could I have made it happen? Sure. I remember thinking about it a couple of times, once when I was out on a project to get some stupid errands finished and another when I decided to instead get some work done on the computer that could have waited until the evening. I remember the two instances and the errors in logic that developed, and I remember them clearly. The roof was too important and the worry it created, right or wrong, made it hard to carve out a place for some of the pleasures and duties that I usually carry out during this season.
Others, like a whirlwind trip to Yellowstone, followed its well-worn course almost out of a force of habit. Or perhaps it took priority out of the terror that I experience in facing the frozen and wintery near future at the doorstep. Even the (still) unfinished roof couldn't eclipse the (perceived) import of the Yellowstone trip.
Ah, habits, fear, and fleeting perspective. Let's not forget the allure of beauty, either.
I have many like situations in my life; as a teacher, a friend, a husband and as a father. So many needs and so many dependents counting on me or what I do; I sometimes don’t understand where the time, energy or ability to make conscious and considered decisions that will have the best effect on the most important people in my world. At other times I understand the line of thought well. The expediencies and immediate emotions carve deep ruts and reactions that far outweigh the lasting perspectives that endure.
The reasons and philosophies behind my actions would fill a book. A confusing and convoluted volume indeed, but a book nevertheless. Each of us have a novel inside of us, or so the philosophers and publishers say; I believe it as I watch my children and students wrestle with the ideas and information swirling about them. They are building the ramparts of their minds right now, carving doors and windows to the beauties and stimulants that surround them, and creating the keys that will give access to those openings. A person’s philosophies and prejudices become the defenses and bridges of the personality whether or not they are correct or good. This process would constitutes at least a book for each of us if recorded at a fraction of the time and thought it takes.
The world is a wide and wild place. The stories that live and lurk inside our hearts can only illuminate our world if we give them the air and breath of voice. And only with that voice can we understand ourselves, both our strengths and follies, and perhaps it can allow others to understand the reasons for our collective and individual ways.
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