Monday, February 21, 2011

"I went to the woods..."

by Mark Baker

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -Henry David Thoreau

For those of you who've yet to read it, Thoreau's 'Walden' is time very well spent. Funny how certain things in life -even those that are exceedingly brief in nature- can cause our minds to take us places we love or deeply appreciate. The other day when our Michigan teased us with a brief glimpse of Miss. Spring dancing around the bend, I got excited in the same way I have since I was a little kid itching to get my bike out for that first Spring ride. Now, staring-down the barrel of half a century on this big blue marble, I get the same exciting anticipation in my belly -although I'm wiser now and know that Old Lady Michigan's gonna kick us a time or two again in the seat of the pants with another winter blast as she is this morning as I write this blog entry.

There's nothing like a cold, gray winter blast outside to make ya appreciate artificially-sustained in-door environs, warm hugs AND cause you to reflect on what's important. Although I'm NOT especially a fan of winter, however I DO appreciate the affect that four distinct seasons play within each of us -a long, cold, gray, generally miserable winter makes one more deeply appreciate the simple rewards of Spring- and enrich our lives. In short, the 'hard times' make us appreciate so much more, the good times in our lives.

In retrospect, my life's tragedies have always been eclipsed by it's triumphs, but the balance is close, not wide in margin. I watched my Mom die a slow, lingering death from a multitude of ailments that stemmed from a horrendous car accident a decade before; this weighed against the joy of each of my three sons and watching them grow into young men and all the memories in between. I later took care of my Dad for six years as I watched him descend into the dark void of Alzheimer's disease; this weighed against the honor of being able to give him something back as a son, for all he'd given my Mom, Brother and I growing up. The pain and emptiness of divorce after several years of marriage with a person I never really knew, weighed against the elation of finding 'the right one' and for the first time in life feeling a kindred-heart bond and relational harmony I've never known before.

Given the loud, 'neon' nature and nano-second speed by which our lives play out before us, coupled with the shallow nature of far too many of our relationships; we sometimes can feel very alone in a crowd. In those times, be they rare or frequent, pause if you will for a moment and consider all the amazing works of Our Father's Hands. Then (that very DAY), go to a quiet place be it a forest, a quiet river-trial, or a secluded beach and marvel at all He's created and done for us to give our lives peace and harmony. Then, while drinking it all in, realize that we, His children are NEVER alone.

I've taken these quiet walks many times in my life and hope to enjoy many more before my clock is done, and on my last allotted day in this temporal life before eternity, I will know that I have indeed lived. Press On...

Note: If you enjoy or get anything out of my prose or rants, I would welcome your comments and any thoughts below from your experiences in life that tie-in. Further, if you do happen to enjoy my blog, I encourage you to sing-up and become a 'Follower.' All the Best, -Mark

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