There is a certain relief in being occupied with the things of the world. You busy yourself with things that have real effect and your accomplishments and failures are clearly known. You see where you have gone wrong and correct it. You know what has gone right and build on it. That is life of late. Four days until a vacation and too much to do and too little time to do it….the American disease. Still I can hardly wait for the sigh of relief on Friday knowing that a couple of days later I will be seeking to ease the boredom of leisure. I am already looking forward to the ways to drive this away: hiking, going to the gym, bicycling, eating Rainier cherries, and writing my small pieces of narrative that it is possible no one shall see. What can I say; my needs are simple. After all I am simple.
And despite recent contemplation and harshness, I do not despair. Life is too short for such a thing. Besides Marina, who had every reason to despair and also too short a life, never did such a thing and in these matters, she is my role model. Maybe my simplicity and refusal to disavow joy is why I am not more of one to think on the big things as often as those I read and admire. As I have said….I am a rather simple person and always in need of the accessible language suited for the less complex. Perhaps this is why the Shaker hymn has so often been a favorite of mine.
Peculiar really. I had completed a Master’s degree and was en route to a PhD. I loved learning and getting answers to the big questions, but it was something I was not suited for. Like a child I was always asking questions, but I was also quick to run off and play rather than wait for the answers. Besides the big questions had to have big universal answers and I was not really all that interested in that. I am a person of the particular. It is why I always loved Campbell, who also quit his studies after his Masters to experience the world with all its particular things. So many I read would have big explanations for big questions and this guy would just tell stories about everyday things. And I loved those stories. I always thought they got at the whole of a thing, that these particular stories always brought us closer to the big universal answers than all that learned exposition. Then again, I could be wrong; I am reminded of that fact more than I care for.
I need the small particular stories. It is why a busy work week with very real things that need to get done at very particular times and in very real places means something to me. I get these things. I think that is why I am happy in my career. The academy and corporate life could not give me these things, but being around those who ask very simple questions and have very real concerns on the most basic of levels….this I can relate to. Of course there is also the humor of the place. I laugh more in a week than I would do in a lifetime in an ivory or glass tower.
I am content in this simplicity. It is not a denial of the complex. It is not a desire that things are easy especially as things have never been easy. Being a creature given to the affirmative has never kept me from one sleepless night. It is just that those of us who are given the choice to dwell in either the positive or the negative should always choose the better way for so many have no choice at all. Ironic though that I should find those who have the most difficult lives, those I think of having no choice….these are often the ones who choose the better place. They seem to know there is a time for everything under the sun including joy, whereas those who have nothing but leisure and themselves to concern themselves with never seem to take the road of affirmation.
Now I wait for the days to pass knowing there is much to do before I can relax. I will spend the time busy and not worry about the complex and so called greater things. Those things will always be there and I am sure I will tend to them more than I care to. But of late I’ve tended to them enough and for a little while they can wait. And soon the mundane will pass and perhaps again the greater things, the things of awe which confound and elate both the simple and complex man.