I like Santana's Caravanserai. It has that feel of latin jazz fusion and Hendrix derived guitar that both soothes and incites.
But this old album, no longer much regarded, is not the purpose of my post. That old music just reminds me of sounds about passages across the night desert. The purpose of this post is to discuss the caravans in which we travel our lives.
I've just finished the season-inaugural episode of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It doesn't matter that I really enjoyed it, or that I regretted missing the first twenty minutes due to being hung on the phone with a client matter and then hung in traffic getting home for far too long. Some people love the show, some people dislike the show, and a vast majority of people don't count the show in one camp or the other. A few people, interestingly enough, find in the show redemption, while another few find in the show damnation. But let's take as read that this show is part of my week--a lamp-post for good things, for enjoyment.
This morning as I did a rather poor job of shaving just prior to my "can't get out the door without a client call" call and my "gotta rush to get to my hearing rush", I was looking at an old MASH rerun, and remembering when it, too, was similarly indispensable television. Other shows, Hill Street Blues; Upstairs, Downstairs; Masterpiece Theatre; thirtysomething--all have had this "key part of my week" position in their time. For a moment, they seem relevant and mysterious and affirming and defining. Then they end their run, go into re-run and instantly become a memory. With some, like St. Elsewhere, time enhances the charm; with others, like LA Law, I wonder how I ever watched.
But this is not my paean to the transitory nature of television.
This is my paean to the transitory nature of everything.
The cases that consumed me five years ago, with one exception, are distant memories now. The fellow lawyer with whom I went to Steve's homemade ice cream store, where they "mixed in" candies into the ice cream, Boston-style, every Friday 18 years ago, where we debated our misfortunes with the opposite sex, I haven't seen in probably 14 years. My grandparents all have passed away, three of them treasured memories, one of whom I never met. My best friend when I was in college I have spoken to once in the last year. My best friend for most of my post-25 year old life I speak to a very few times a year, and then see two to four times a year.
I am reaching that age in life when I feel like a spider--I must spin web to everyone and everything I have ever touched who ever meant anything to me. I have used google and e mail to locate long lost friends. I am trying to be more conscious about family things, as it all fades away, so fast.
We live our lives as though we live in giant marble edifices. In fact, we live in manufactured housing. The installers come, with more or less skill, and plop us down in foundations on pier and beam, laid on Texas soil. Unlike the seeds in the parable, which at least sprout successfully if placed in the good soil, we all are in more or less rocky soil. We all have to reach out our roots and branches haphazardly. It's not just the people we know, it's everything about the choices we make.
In my law firm, we have a simple credo. Indeed, it's a credo far superior to that of my last firm, which used a rather crude expression as an elucidation of the idea "don't [mess] up". Our credo is that "life is too short".
Of course, life is too short for those of us who do not have the ability to make the choices we wish to make in life. But life is also too short for those of us with the mental, emotional and material wherewithal to choose what we want and need in this life.
Life is just awfully short indeed. It's too short for a certain sort of kowtowing. It's too short for a certain sort of needless revolution. It's too short for certain emotional entanglements.
It's just too short, too short, too short.
This long post may belie my theme, but lately I'm thinking that the point at which the trap of stasis may open is the point at which one does not have time to endure the inertia any more. By this, I mean, the moment we live consciously that life is moment by moment, and ends, the sooner we begin to make the choices of how we wish to design our own lives. I have done a reasonable job of self-design, but I aspire to so much more.
I built my house upon the sand, but the water washed the sand away. Then I built my house upon the rock, but it turned out my house washed away anyway, because my house, it turned out, was made of sand. My house was a sort of garden folly, made of sand.
Soon I learned that I had to use my house to do the things that are truly meaningful to me. That's because when the sands have washed away, the hour is up. My hour is ebbing, and life is too short. Life is too short to see my life as some grand permanent mansion. It's a mobile home, really, and the hail is coming.
I can sit and pretend it isn't, or I can set up my house as a sort of temple, for a quick worship service, which I'll experience, and then it--and I--will be gone.