"Sound of One Tree Clapping in the Theater of Time".
I do physical work these days. Oh, it isn't hard labor, I'm not breaking rocks on a chain gang nor am I hoisting 100 pound sacks of cement on my shoulder to load on trucks. I often am lifting and moving cartons that can weight up to 50 pounds, hanging stuff on rods above my head or climbing a ladder to place some heavy object on a 12 foot high shelf. You never sit down, I am always on my feet.
This isn't my first experience with physical employment, but most of my prior brushes were in my youth, doing stoop labor in farm fields or loading flatbed trucks. Most of my adult life my jobs have been mental. Writing itself is a mental chore. The heaviest thing you lift might be a ream of paper to put in the printer.
Walking through life is much like walking through this woods. Memory helps you find your destination down the many trails, often blind paths.
Now someone may say bad comparison. "You aren't walking to any destination. You are just walking in a circle."
These trails may look much alike, but there are subtle differences and if you can't remember this, you get lost.
"Sound of One Tree Clapping in the Theater of Time"? He was the mystery man or statue that appeared in the photograph, but hadn't been seen by the photographer when he took the picture. Suddenly, here was this lone figure standing on the icy shore holding something in his hand, a bow, a fishing pole or a staff.
Where did he come from? Why was he there? Why hadn't I seen him when I lined up the camera shot of the distant geese?
I didn't know the answer until I enlarged the shot.
My parents are in their nineties. When I visited them this past Christmas my father was reminiscing about parts of his life. In doing so he paused and said, "The hard thing about being old is all the guys you knew, all the buddies you palled about with are gone."
That is the curse of living long we touched upon in my last post, being alone because our loved ones have gone before us.
I think I can deal with that loneliness if it comes, but I think there is a worse state of being alone.
That to me would be the roughest path to hike.
I have a friend who has two friends stumbling onto that dark and narrow trail. He has taken some steps to try and be a help, which can be difficult when you are only a friend and not family. But we all need look out for each other when we can.
I don't know how the afflicted person feels. What goes on inside the brain as it becomes more and more disconnected from memories and functions? Is the person aware or are they lost alone in some odd fantasy land? When someone in the advance stages begins to scream is it just some disconnect between dead brain nerves or is it that they are aware of not being aware and suffering because they can't reach out anymore? I have no idea, but it is not the way I would want to end.
To lose my mind to age would be the ultimate horror of aloneness.
What about me at the moment? Have I come to any destinations? I can see the river, the creek, now down below my path. I haven't seen the way down to it yet. I do see a sign this trail isn't as lonely as it seems, here on some trees is a sign that many others have come this way and left their mark.
We all try to make contact with the world in one way or another. Here are dozens and dozens of carved names and initials in the tree.
Now my goal is to get down to the shoreline of the creek.
TO BE CONTINUED