Sunday, February 27, 2011

what is in us

straight paths are simply not in people.
~ivan doig, dancing at the rascal fair, p 218

last night I had dinner with some friends, one of whom said he believes people should reinvent themselves every ten years or so. try new paths, change activities, learn and do something differently. move, tackle a new job, add (hopefully productive) behaviors.

I think I'm covered for the next few decades.

ivan doig could have been looking at my life journey when he wrote those words, for I seem to be able to move any direction but straight. apparently, however, I'm not alone, though at times it feels that way. ivan made a broad statement, and I wonder just how much truth it holds.

if you were to chart your adult life, from say age 18 on, how resolute would be your march? did you move from A to B to C, just as we're told to, or did you sidestep and take in a bit of C-1 or even X before moving along to D?

I went snowshoeing this afternoon, making no first tracks, but instead following those of a skier who had been there before to cut tracks which were now and again bisected by those of a traveling moose. the smooth, narrow tracks moved along a trail which lay beneath a few feet of snow and they moved alongside a hidden creek, up ridges, around and down, occasionally laying out wide swoops, and eventually looping back upon themselves. I followed, noticing the often-direct path playing games with the layout of the land, at times moving unpredictably, at times behaving exactly as one would think it should.

the beginning and the end were givens.
but everything in between was negotiable, at times capricious, at times methodical and logical. whim and joy crept into the path of these tracks, delivering my route from complete safety and predictability.

my beginning, in fact the first segment of forty-eight years, is now a given.
my end is inevitable.
but from now 'til then I will walk (and ride) a path that is at times proven and well-thought-out, and at times completely fanciful or quirky. it will swoop, it will wind around and loop back upon itself. it will be narrow, it will be precarious, and it will be wide and safe and cushioned. it will be a rope bridge swinging over a gorge, a tightrope over quicksand, a suspension bridge built to handle a thousand cars per minute. it will be on snow, on grass, on sand, on asphalt.
it might turn left, it may turn right.
but it will eventually get me to the end.

straight paths aren't in us.
the best of us change and flow and become better than we once were.
every swoop takes us forward, especially those that are filled with joy and love, and a little faith.

No comments: