Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shucking Oysters

These past few months have been one mean emotional ride. A succession of events. A series of up close hard things. Exacting. Toll taking. Unavoidable. Mind and heart numbing.

Life is real. Life can be hard. Life can be real hard when it’s made of the stuff that reduces you down to the bare essence of who you are. Maybe that’s the hidden pearl inside the oyster of life. You have to shuck the oyster to find the pearl. Sometimes things get turned upside down and the oyster shucks you.

In all the shucking I’m given to wonder more why I do the things I do. It makes me wonder about the practical value of all the goods and commodities that form the outward appearances of life, points and produce of pride – the things most people use as indications of success in a world that is, as Mark Twain said, a multiplication of unnecessary necessities.

When it comes right down to it, it’s all a bunch of shiny butt fodder that people sell their souls to accumulate for the sake of appearances. Earth awaits its opportunity to swallow us all.

What of any real value will we leave behind when the earth’s mouth is opened and we are laid at the bottom of a hole filled with cold dirt? In the cold hole there is no distinction between rich or poor, color of skin pigment or life creed. The hole is unconcerned about what we dined upon as our finest table fare or the magnitude of our personal holdings.

The little birds come to our feeders. Sometimes they come in small droves; sparrows, finches, cardinals, wrens, and a host of others. Watching the birds at our feeders is one of our simple joys. It’s something we are given to and take pleasure in. It’s hard to find a day when the atmosphere around us isn’t filled with birdsong.

In my present state of mind it causes me to wonder if we are really doing them a favor by feeding them; tempting them, holding them close just to satisfy some elusive sense of need within ourselves.