Monday, September 20, 2004

A Discourse on the Faceless Foe

I don't know which came first, the unattainable standards of my life or the ones that I impose upon those unlucky enought to stumble into my domain. Times and trials, and all that bullshit just seem to add up in every corner with nature screaming at me to learn at least something. What though, am I supposed to embrace from the various causes in my life?
Life, sometimes, feels eternal and unchanging, even in the face of unconditional alteration. Faces become different (though they too are always unaltered) but the eternal course of how interpersonal reltions seem to develop are always just the same. Virtue decays into selishness; closeness becomes distance as new friends replace old ones; and even a families love can falter and simply cease to be over the span of sometimes moments and sometimes years. All of it makes me ever wonder if the problem is within me somewhere or if it is out there, a part of the social aether; sort of a modern example of original sin. Viscious circles are much more like spirals. When seen from above, with a higher perspective, they are just the same problems repeated in a harmonic pattern over and over again, but to us mere mortals the decay of it is much more obvious as the circles race ever towards the ground. For those of us mere mortals, born without choice into the finite, the ground is easy to find, and almost never out of sight.
I've found myself thinking alot lately about the nature of my life and of its blessings. Here I am, living the life I always hoped, but it is nothing like I imagined that it would be. Am I a great light? No, rarely is all I can hope for in that. Am I possessed of a strength of family and friends? Sometimes, if everyone is in a good mood. Am I at all? Well, let's wait and see.
One of my great gifts is an inner strength and passion. Only the death of my grandfather ever caused me to falter for long, but oh, how the mighty do fall. Nothing phases me anymore. The hard shell of a skin begins to grow towards the inside, and now the truth of my thoughts and actions are lost to all but me, and I can see them myself only when I choose to look with the greatest of vigour and the deepest of strength. "We see as but through a glass darkly." I worry these days that this describes my soul most, that the parts of me which had the most life are dimming more and more, like a reflection on dusk painted waters. They are devoid of their own inner light, instead just mimicking old patterns of action in the hopes that they will live up to an old way of being.
Society is a faceless foe, made faceless by the multitude of visages and outstretched arms. People take and wish, they ask and demand, and rarely if ever do they give any kind of thanks or acknowledgement. Sometimes we give because our personal "virtue" demands it, and sometimes because it is expected, but in the giving we are ever the more diminished in the strength of our spirit. The voices, but more the eyes and the silence, of those around us ask always for strength but fail always to give comfort. I fear that I am becoming a cynic, or worst yet a pragmatist (which is a cynic unwilling to admit his cynicism).
I had a strange sensation today. A moment of almost total selfishness and inward motivated compassion, but at least it was compassion. I found a picture of me as a child, crying. My grandparents took it, which Im sure helped me to find the setimentality of it all, but whatever the reason for its existence then it has served me well today.
I remember looking at it and not seeing me, but seeing a child in tears. How easy it is to make someone else out of our own childhood, dont you think? I remember looking at it and wishing I could take this little boy in his suit and tie up off the table and to tell him that everything would be ok. I wanted to be able to tell him that someday his family would abandon him, that his parents would dismiss his hopes and ideas and wish that he never find love or even to seek it, but that they would love him in their own way. I wished to tell him that his grandparents had a profound kind of love for each other and all their family, but that this would not be enough to garuntee their immortality, or even to ease the suffering of their deaths. Most of all though, I wished to take him in my arms and tell him that there was at least one soul who understood his suffering, both then and to come, even if that soul was his own.
This is a virtue that I tend to forget. A virtue I call selfish. I think perhaps that I have failed myself in compassion and understanding; but in failing myself have I not failed the purity of my belief that all life is worth love and comfort. In always attacking myself have I not taught myself that there are exceptions to the unversality of my rules, and in so exceeding have I not allowed the exceptions to become more pronounced.
This is what really defines the narrow path of our lives. What is that almost imperceptable line between ourselves and the other? Perhaps it is as with all lines, you can only ever see it if you have strayed from walking its length. It is a profound thing, eternal reason, that can make of everything a metaphor.
I am not where I wished to be, though all the trappings are there. It speaks of the cruel humor of the universe that I should always pray for the decorations of a perfect life, but never to ask for the substance of one.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Gravity of Autumn

I have always looked upon the summer as a time of purification. Like the wildfires which spread that time of year so common and burn away the old and dead to make room for the young, who lack the strength to push aside old sins and carcasses. It is a time for the strong and the strong of heart, for those who can withstand the purging flames of natures wrath and grow from them. Summer is not my favourite time of the year.
The cycle of life, for me, seems centered upon the school year. Fall is a new beginning to me, not the spring. Fall heralds a time of comfort and ease, when the old has been drained of its vigour, but now only in their fading do the most glorious colours seem to show. The old passing away to the new and the slow march of easy days always remind me of college and how life seems to begin again in the Fall, and how I am always so surprised by how a summer has changed things.
At the beginning of this summer I was in a distant place and a part of a different life. Now look at where one summer has taken me. I've left Commerce for Austin to start the career of my dreams. I lived with strangers for a month or two, and can to this day count every one of them amongst my friends (though I regret not talking to them as much as I did before). PK is happy here, though sexually frustrated. And of course there is John, a companion in my life whom I respect and adore. This summer has been a good one, but as such its changes are swift and extreme and are unforgiving of my more human failings.
The last few days though, there has been an ease in the air. The breeze is less a scorching blast and the evenings are more my idea of paradise. Tonight will rise for me the most familiar of stars in the calmest of yearly skies. Tonight will have easier cares and more placid of prayers. The Fall is is here, and with it an end to the summers quick growth and fast paced tyranny. This is a time for new progression and the slow contemplation of life learned.
And as such is the nature of the autumn, my life summons me away. More thoughts later, I hope, but till then celebrate, the summer fires have burnt themselves out and the land is rich again.