• Posted: Sep 02, 2009 01:20:24
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Alas, the day is ending. Summer is ending. Our vacation is ending. Soon we will begin putting right the cottage, say good-bye to everyone, and return home where in days to come we will begin collecting ourselves for the start of a new school year. The ritual is clear. But our heads will not be filled with the structure and mechanics of the ritual. The ritual is merely the path through time and space our bodies have followed. Instead, our heads will be filled with the stories of our adventure.
If I say to you, "Did you see that old lady in that weird swim suit?" You may giggle and say, "Yes, wasn't that a scream? I bet when she goes in the water it billows like a balloon." And we'd both laugh at the image in our minds.
The old lady and her swimwear depart from our expectations of what people do at the beach. And it amuses us. But, in fact, it may be the narrowness of our expectations that amuses the old lady. For she knows, that with age, one begins to see beyond the confines of narrow-minded ritualistic expectations. One begins to recognize both the goodness and the hollow arbitrariness of some of those expectations. One also comes to realize that some ritualistic expectations and practices can be extremely hurtful.
In the early stages of our lives we seek acceptance. We seek to know and to master the central wisdom of our group. We may even seek stardom from within that group. But at a later stage of our lives we come to recognize that the central wisdom of our group is often flawed, incomplete, self-centered, selfish, hurtful, and destructive to anything that doesn't conform. And that realization can make us sad. We wonder if there isn't another kind of workable wisdom that is much less deleterious along all those dimensions, something inclusive, nurturant, supportive of experimentation and change, and above all curious with respect to the wisdom of nature. And then we wonder if there isn't something we might do to open other's eyes to our concerns.
The sun sets. The day ends. We go home and smile upon those with which we share our lives. Perhaps not all of our wishes fulfilled, but another mostly good and thoroughly enjoyable ritual has come to a close.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
88.8 mm 421 mm