Misty Boxing Day

The social obligations may have cleared with the passage of Christmas but the atmosphere this morning upon awakening was less transparent. A waft of warm air has melted much of the light snow and once again exposed the tufts of grass and field of wild plants below a fog.

Clarity of mind is a percolating ambition as we prepare for the New Year.  Of course I am far past the days of New Year’s resolutions. Indeed if I were to adopt any resolution at all it would be to preserve whatever it is I am doing because to imagine doing otherwise is preposterous unless it happens merely as a necessary adjunct to one’s regular behaviour. And, you know, now that I think on it, that’s not an altogether frivolous enterprise.  So often what paralyzes our conduct is the inability to take things as they are. This includes acceptance not only of oneself but also of others, from one’s own children to one’s distance enemies. I haven’t any fear of seeming entirely out of control on this point because the likelihood of it ever happening is slim. The inescapable reality – again, both for oursevles and others howsoever far removed – is that we’ll likely have little hope of adopting the currency. We unfailingly imagine that we have the unforeseen ability of change – usually for some improved and inextinquishable highlight – which makes it really weird.

A moment’s reflection upon myself discloses (shamefully, I suppose) that I haven’t really changed at all in the past 75 years.  Note, if you will, that I have deliberately used the word “changed”.  I didn’t by contrast say “grown”.  Certainly I have, like any other creature under the celestial canopy, grown during my tread upon the earth; but to extend this natural evolution to the more dynamic description of metamorphosis of any description is, I believe, rather presumptuous at the very least, and more exactly a contradiction of nature’s already zestful production.

This isn’t – as I have no doubt some of you naysayers may predict – an absolution of illegitimacy or irregularity or anything else contrary to one’s well being; rather it is an admission of the strength and nutrition to be derived from awareness of what really controls us, not what we seek to control. Nothing is less palatable or contrary in my mind than that which evolves not from within but solely from without. The latter alternative – which I know can at times be extremely animated – is however a deceit and as curious as a snake oil charmer’s solution.

But, as I say, the only fruitful admission is that we will not change; that is, we shall continue to seek to change, to perfect what Nature over millennia has already by imperceptible and incremental alteration done for us. Change is not redirection; it is adaptation, accommodation, indeed conformity is its logical sequel. What relief it is to digest this easily consumed medicine! Just like taking a pill and the rest will happen with no effort whatsoever! Lest you again seek to contradict me in this seemingly vulgar proposition, I ask you only to regard any other creature in Nature to analyze its adjustment to its daily perils of existence. We, like they, may lose the benefit of a certain innate advantage whether physical or intellectual.  But they, unlike us, simply rise to the challenge, habituating, inuring and hardening. It wouldn’t occur to them to make themselves into something they are not; instead, they accumulate their remaining strength and use it to whatever intended purpose it may lead. Nor is this for a moment to be considered a day at the beach.  It is far more expedient but less fruitful for the unwilling to fabricate a dream than to live it. And for those watching from the sidelines – if one cares at all – the drama is by far more scintillating. How egregious and cumbersome it is at the end of the day to disrobe from a weighty costume burdened upon oneself in lieu of the relic canvass that is oneself without the added obscurity and disjointed elements or configurations peculiar to a public circus act.