Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not Much to be Done

Sat this morning, in the untimed, ill-disciplined fashion I've taken up, watching the waves crest, run, wobble, collapse; long foam-laced rollers breaking up on the basalt rings below the cape. Supposedly I was making the waves the object of my meditation: but they were too interesting for that. Really I was sitting watching the waves, in the half-light of a cloudy, rainy morning.

Wondering about the shape of the final twenty years or so of my life. What remains to be done? Not a whole lot, really. Maybe, in fact, nothing: nothing, that is, but assimilating the idea that nothing remains to be done.

"If I had only a week to live, I would..."

It's a useful exercise, but people tend to think of particular things they would do. What you would mostly be engaged in though, I think, is not doing new things, but laying aside the old plans -- be they sober or drunken ones -- that have accumulated over a lifetime. What's left, with all those ambitions sliced neatly from the taproot? What would we look like, with only the past and the present to cover our nakedness?

Like not much, I'm thinking. A worm on a leaf, arching inquiringly.

Still. I want what I always wanted. The wind at my back pushes me on, habit moves my feet. I wince at remembrance, but it teaches me nothing.

Same old story, same old act;
One step up and two steps back.

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