Sunday, September 8, 2013


Blue Ridge Mountains Landscape
(Photo by Gafoto, Wikimedia Commons)

After more than eighteen years of living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Margaret and I finally closed on the sale of our house nine days ago and embarked on the next phase of our planned relocation — the search for a place in the Carolinas that will permit Margaret to keep her two horses.  We have stored our furniture in Maryland and taken a short-term rental apartment in Greenville, South Carolina, which will be our base as we explore the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains between Greenville and Asheville, North Carolina.  

Radical changes like this are always stressful because they increase exponentially the uncertainties that accompany "normal life," whatever that is.  I am hopeful, nonetheless, that the future will unfold in a way that will allow both Margaret and me to return soon to the activities that nurture our respective souls.  For the moment, however, we must spend most our days searching for something quite different from what I usually search for.

Unfortunately, the demands of the past few months have left me little time to read and reflect.  I have tried, however, to keep the ideals of two pieces of writing at the forefront of my crowded, overburdened mind.  The first piece of writing is Charles Bukowski's wise poem, The Laughing Heart, which I discovered by reading one of Ruth's elegant postings on Small.

                                               The Laughing Heart

                               your life is your life
                               don't let it be clubbed into dank submission.
                               be on the watch.
                               there are ways out.
                               there is light somewhere.
                               it may not be much light but
                               it beats the darkness.
                               be on the watch.
                               the gods will offer you chances.
                               know them.
                               take them.
                               you can't beat death but 
                               you can beat death in life, sometimes.
                               and the more often you learn to do it,
                               the more light there will be.
                               your life is your life.
                               know it while you have it.
                               you are marvelous.
                               the gods wait to delight 
                               in you.

The second piece comes from the Talmud and has its inspiration in the writings of the prophet Micah:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief.  Love mercy now. Walk humbly now.  Do justly now.  You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

So what's the relationship between this moving challenge and the quotes from Bukowski and The Talmud?  I suppose it has something to do with what Pascal once said:  "In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind."