Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Swiftly flow the days, as the song insists, and indeed they do. One minute we plant the seeds and in what seems like a blink the flowers blossom, wither, die. Weeks become months, then years. The cycles repeat themselves with sturdy reliability.

I look at sunsets now with a curious blend of sweet and bitter nostalgia.

I think often of my mother, who died in 2009 — almost four years now, and still there are days every week where I start to dial her number just to see how her day went. I often contemplate her belief that we are here, we work, then we die, and any mark we leave for history is based on what we accomplish while we are alive. I have always agreed with that sentiment, but right now I wish I did not, because I feel hobbled by time's arrow and have not finished the work at hand; I have not completed the meaningful tasks on my life's agenda. I do not want to be remembered as a guy who started a magazine. There is more to me than that.

I think often of my father, now dead almost eight years. The urge to call him is not as strong, but I could use his advice right now; it would be nice to be able to ask him what I should do. It would be nice to ask him anything.

I think often of my brothers, Robert and Richard. They both live in north Missouri, with families they're proud of and their own particular joys. I look at their lives and feel warm about what they've done, of the marks they've made on this plain. I think to pick up the phone and talk with them, but swiftly flow the days and our lives.

I think often of the people I've loved, the men and women who shaped me into who I am today. I think of Joe Whall and Lou Ziegler, the two men who gave me vision. Both of them gone now, but I still hear their voices from time to time, and I know they would be disappointed in what I've not done with my life, in the ways I've allowed myself to become sidetracked by petty, trivial dramas.

I think of my life — what I was, the peaks I conquered, the magnificent views I was allowed to glimpse: dinners with former presidents, hob-nobs with celebrities, serious discussions with some of the planet's best minds, quiet moments with lovely friends. Those days are gone now. They might as well have never existed. I do my best to banish them to the back rooms of my brain because remembering them is a waste of time. Remembering them would mean admitting the future holds no hope.

I think of what I have left to do in the time I have left. I wish for another 52 years but realize the futility of wishes. The Rolling Stones were wrong: you can't always get what you want, and I find you often don't get what you need, no matter how hard you try. That's the bitter dregs of life, the muck I shovel in silence until my head feels like it's about to explode. Sometimes I want to let go of the shovel and let the abyss bury me. But I can't. Letting the bitter take control of my life means embracing defeat. I won't allow that. Sweet little Pisces man won't let go of hope. It's all I have left.

Quieter now, with head bloodied and somewhat bowed, I make my way forward. I have had a great life, indeed. I have not yet lived the best days of that life.

1 comment:

robert davis said...

I to miss our talks and remember if you ever neeed to talk just call me. Thats what big brothers are for. Love Ya Ron!