9 Dec

“It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike. Everything except the fact that I didn’t have to know. That it was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was . . . . To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life — like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.” – Cheryl StrayedDSC02087pp

Do you know what has surprised me the most about life?

You grow up and you think about building a life — deliberately, brick by brick. You go at it. Stacking them just so, building something that is strong and straight. You know, a solid foundation. Something that is disciplined and noble. That you can be proud of. That is not tarnished by oozing mortar or fireplace soot.

And then you step back and you look at your brick wall.

And it looks like the fucking Pompeii ruins.

Has anyone else had that experience. The soup-sandwich-clusterfuck-of-a-life experience?

And then there are moments when the sun hits your shitty-brick-wall-ruins just right, when wind blows across its rough edges just so. When the magic of the place courses through you. When the miracle of the fact that something you’ve built still stands — something! — strikes you. The beautiful mess of it all. The speckled dust of goodness in it.

That’s the thing I didn’t expect in life. How messy it all is. That messy is okay. That messy can dazzle, in its own crazy way.

Oh, my twenties. What a decade.


3 Responses to “Pompeii”

  1. Jim December 10, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    I see something very organized about your quest this year! Sure parts of life are messy, but you have demonstrated control over your environment in an exceptional manner. The result is you have gained insights that would have otherwise eluded you until much later. And that has prepared you for this new phase. You done good over the past year…and you have enjoyed those things over which you have no control. That’s a real gift. Hope you have a great Christmas! Best, Hondo

  2. Anon December 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Speaking of the various views of and from various walls, and of Pompeii, I highly recommend “Ghosts of Vesuvius” by Dr. Charles Pellegrino.

  3. Henry Chamberlain December 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    I hope your exploration continues and there are more breaks ahead for you. Keep to your creative side. It will be there after much of everything else has faded away. You may enjoy a book that uses Pompeii as a creative jumping off point. It is a graphic novel by Frank Santoro that I have reviewed on my blog. http://comicsgrinder.com/2013/12/14/review-pompeii-by-frank-santoro-published-by-picturebox/

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