Monday, March 3, 2014

spring-time perestroika

you said/ remember that life is/ not meant to be wasted

Today is one of those days that is very bright and very cold.
One of those days that captures moments so easily, freezes them in a crystal clear radiance.

I ran into a friend whom I had set up on a blind date, and I asked her how it had gone.
It was fun, quoth she. I feel empowered.
And there we were, in the sun and snow of North quad, and I grinned ear to ear, because my meddling in other people's affairs had had a happy sort of outcome.
The happy outcome being female empowerment and knowing that one can make it through an hour and a half at dinner without spilling wine on your pants or sounding like a beached orca flailing in a kiddie pool.

I sat with my friend on a squishy couch, and listened to her talk, at home in the beautiful words of the story she was telling, her face was shining more brilliantly than the sun outside.
It was as if the permacloud that shrouds the South Bend sky had also been hiding that light inside of her. 
And my eyes started to well up with water like the puddles outside our front step, because I had nearly forgotten that this radiant person was constantly there, hiding underneath the clouds.
And I do love her so, clouds or no clouds.

Today, my friend spotted the first buds of spring.
Encouragingly, he dumped the remnants of his coffee upon them, in burst of enthusiasm, hoping to spur on their growth.
Perhaps, although there is still a hundred feet of snow on the ground, perhaps winter will end somewhere in the future.
It's quite a nice promise.
We are so foolish, human beings, you know.
We constantly accept to be true only the things we can see, touch, grasp with our senses, and maybe our reason.
There is nothing reasonable about hoping for spring to come.
And yet, there is something so completely reasonable.
Because it is extremely foolish to reduce the world to simply the sphere of experience you exist in 24 hours a day.
There is nothing more utterly foolish than to think that the physical universe is somehow "it."

Saying yes and saying no are both daunting prospects.
To say no to someone who has already said yes to you is either incredibly selfish or incredibly daring.
To say no without an assured yes waiting for you on the other end is borderline insane.
I always say that I hate "settling" that I am terrified of "settling."
Which, I suppose means saying 'yes' to something just because it's there, not because you want to say yes to it, simply because it presents itself as an opportunity to say yes to.
But I think I realized, in one clear moment on the very bright and clear not-quite-spring day, that saying no to something just because it's safer to say no than to say yes is settling as well.
And that is the task of life in a nutshell, I'd say: to say Yes, over and over again, muddling your ways through the smaller yeses and nos, correcting your course wherever you've taken a wrong turn, and learning how to have the humility to say yes when you previously said no.
Because for two of the smallest words in the English language, your yes and your no both wield a terrifying amount of power.


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