|Floods in my own village, Winter 2012-13.|
Blog friend and Ohio resident Grizz at Riverdaze was recently flooded out. He's back in his riverside cottage now, but there's been mess to clear up and the loss of some furniture of sentimental value. I commented on one of his posts about his attitude to it all, and he replied at length. It was such an inspiring and heartwarming response I thought I'd share it with you all. This must be one of the most exceptional replies to a blog comment I have ever received.
The Solitary Walker:
I enjoyed and was inspired so much by this post, Grizz. Though I'm not enjoying thinking of your sentimental losses, and your arduous work to come.
But what I am heartened by is your attitude and spirit. Yes, so heartened and encouraged and absolutely delighted by it! You give us all a reason for living, and for enduring hardship, my friend.
And, as you say, there's always someone worse off than ourselves. Much worse off.
Your stay with the Cherokee family was educational and inspiring. What a rich world, if only we had the eyes to see it.
I appreciate your kind words, my friend. Trust me, I'm a sentimental fool about way too much. Yet, oddly, I seem to be able to let these things go with barely a twinge. And as to the work ahead...much will be difficult and frustrating. And maybe, for me, impossible. If that's the case, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. But for now, it's just out there waiting—a little scary, perhaps, the sheer amount that will be necessary, but still not in a bad way. A sort of exciting fright, understand? An adventure, or rather a series of adventures—problems to solve, techniques to learn, materials and designs to master. Or at least muddle through adequately enough.
I used to think adventures were those big things you did somewhere else—generally somewhere strange and wild and dangerous. The kind of adventures H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jack London, and about a hundred other authors whose books I devoured wrote about.
In fact, I read it so much and so eagerly that I ended up, in a small way, devoting my life to one of endless rambles and outdoor adventures—always being willing to leave the group or the trail if some place or rumor "over yonder, in back of beyond" promised even more adventure.
I expect I've never fully grown up, but I have wised up a bit. Now I understand that adventures come in all shapes and sizes, foreign and domestic, and can involve every aspect of our lives. In point of fact, life is the biggest adventure of all…one we each share…and it happens every single day. So when I say I view what has happened and more importantly, what is yet to happen, as an adventure, I was being quite honest. It's not just a matter of perspective, but rather of philosophy—mine, anyway, and Myladylove's. Life happens. To all of us, whether we like it or want it to, or not. Adventure lies ahead like a waiting lion. I dread it and am thrilled by the prospects. Crazy? Maybe.
Moreover, right now, it is 0˚F outside, heading to a night's low of around -5˚F. There are piles of snow beyond my doorway windows—several inches of which fell today. I can hear the river out there in the darkness, still churning over the riffle stones. It sounds cold. Yet there's a cheery fire burning in the woodstove and the great room—concrete floor and all—is a comfortable 68˚F. Myladylove is asleep in a nearby chair. My beloved old dog is curled up on a pad near the hearth, snoring peacefully. Between jabs at the keyboard (I've temporarily set my computer up on our dinning table) I'm nibbling on oatmeal cookies I made yesterday—a belated but delicious dessert after the pork roast I fixed for tonight's supper. In a few minutes, I'll toss a night log on the fire, damp the stove, let Moon out for her final round, and wake my sleeping ma...and we'll subsequently all toddle off to our dry, cozy beds.
Definitely not anywhere close to hardship. Yet the same cannot be said for so very many folks who share this spinning world. And not just in faraway lands...but close to home. Possibly just down the street. You never know. So many do lead lives of quiet desperation, of neglect and abuse, pain, want, need. My current travails are mere piddles in the dust. They amount to nothing. I well know that I'm fortunate, and blessed.
This is, indeed, a rich and wonderful world, in spite of all its problems. A beautiful world. A would I cherish and delight in and love.