Just Go Along With It

Photo: Tim Bies

Flames will destroy everything
at the end of the universe.
It may already be destroyed.

A cold cricket cries in the pile of wet leaves.
He wanders back and forth, unable to get past regret.

Go along with it
Stumble in rain,
Walk on alone.

At the end of the trail is a warm cabin with a single fire.
There you may dry out those lonely years.

~ Blue Cliff Record: Zen Echoes

Girls Who Wear Glasses

Is this the autumn of my life? I turned 40 this year so I suppose it is. (If it’s not autumn, it’s most certainly late summer.) Age has never concerned me much but it did this year. It’s not the number but everything that goes along with midlifeloss of beauty, fatigue, things just not being the same physically. I equate it to being in the middle of a vast sea and discovering to your horror that your beloved vessel is springing leaks! I wonder, spiritually, why we have to go through this process. Is it just for kicks? To have a little cosmic laugh?

If we are attached to our bodies (bravo if you are not, you must be a Zen master), as we age, we are going to suffer. I was at the park with my daughter a few weeks ago and one of Hope’s schoolmates joined her on the swing. I introduced myself brightly, “Hi, I’m Hope’s mom.” She pumped her legs awkwardly and said, “I know.” “How do you know,” I asked (we had never met). She replied sweetly, “You have the same hair colour.” I smiled, until she added, “Only Hope’s is more shiny.” Ah yes, it happens to all of us. In case you haven’t caught on, this is why shampoo labels boast about enhancing shine. It’s a lie. Only the young have naturally vibrant hair.

Just yesterday, I was wearing my glasses and someone asked me, “Do you need to wear your glasses all the time now?” “Only if I want to see” I joked smugly. I hate wearing glasses. They are uncomfortable and well you know what they say about girls who wear glasses... If only I could wear my sunglasses everywhere. Like Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s you would see me around town, at the grocery store perhaps, looking cool and mysterious. You wouldn’t be able to see the fine lines around my eyes...

Sigh. It’s a sad, sad and humbling feeling to believe that you don’t matter at all. No one takes the time, it seems, to truly see you. The real you, I mean. But why are we so hurt by this? Every day, magnificent and majestic trees are cut down. People trample on delicate wildflowers. Wildlife and insects are killed without a thought. Why do we expect to be treated any different by those that are clearly blind to intrinsic beauty?

In a way, when someone loves you, it validates your existence. That person not only hears the music that you are creating, but she/he delights in it. Is this not the most precious gift? And yes, our bodies will fade and eventually die, but love will endure. A loved one’s gentle voice, the light in his/her eyes, and all the kind and loving acts that were ever shared are timeless. This music, this light and love, ripples out endlesslygreeting us on the flip side where we merge as one in an exquisite dance of eternal love. ~ A pipe dream? Perhaps. But I think not.