When I was young and in grammar school and something of a voracious reader, I often selected my next readings from lists of award-winning books for young adults. I remember selecting a book called “Up a Road Slowly” at one time and being excited, as I carried it home from the library, to read it.
For me, at that time, it was a flop. It seemed slow and ponderous and frustrating in the way that everything in the story was somehow about the benefits of slowness, of patience, of growth over time.
I wasn’t at all ready for it then. I can’t imagine that many young people are, actually. I can picture an awards committee full of aging adults being quite taken by the story and seeing it as something that was quite beautiful in their eyes and that young people “ought to read.”
— § —
I think that even throughout my adult years, I wasn’t quite ready for this story, or for this concept. The book has long held a place in my imagination as that very same flop, an example of what a story probably shouldn’t be, a case of a book with didactic intentions that forgot what an audience was.
It is only now, pushing forty, that I have recalled the story and writing again for the first time in rather a long time, and suddenly, with new eyes. Suddenly, it seems quite lovely to me.
It is a season of life in which I am, suddenly, happy to be going up a road slowly. Suddenly, it doesn’t just resonate, but it seems in fact to honor things that are good in gentle ways.
— § —
Tonight for the first time in some time, I remember that spring exists, that summer exists, that fall exists, that there are seedlings and breezes and rainstorms and warm early mornings to come again—that winter is not eternal, that time does, indeed pass, and that there are other things than present circumstances to come.
It is precisely because present circumstances are good that I can do this, and doing this makes present circumstances seem all the better.
There is a paradoxical way in which “living in the present” opens up the rest of time to be embraced, and in which embracing the rest of time as it is, with a clear head and without any particular striving enables one to live in the present.
It is a different flavor of awareness, and it is good.
— § —
Tonight life is good.