It’s not easy to write tonight, and yet at the same time I am compelled to do so. It’s a cry on the wind. It’s a verse written in the sand on a beach left behind. It’s a note to oneself, packed away and likely to be discovered only decades later by one’s heirs, as they sort through one’s things.
— § —
Spring is here and I should be relieved. It’s been a long winter. Of illness for the kids and of snow and cold at inopportune times and of changes that haven’t been welcome. Last year I felt optimistic about springtime, about the return of new growth and the opening up of the world under the resurgent sun.
© Aron Hsiao / 2015
I do not feel that way this year.
Permeating everything is a sense of decay, a sense of melancholy, a sense of the passage of time. If I let myself slip just a little, I might even say that permeating everything is a sense of foreboding—the sense that the die has been cast, that it was cast long ago, that circumstances now have a logic of their own that must play out, that destiny will in fact soon arrive to demand its due.
I am doing my best to keep up appearances through all of this. Fulfill obligations. Chop wood. Carry water.
But I am not optimistic. No, I am not optimistic just now. Samuel Johnson once said that nothing concentrates the mind like the knowledge that one will be hanged in the morning. This is very much the feeling that I have, seeping in around every edge.
The feeling that there is no exit.
— § —
Yes, there will be something to come next. No, I don’t really want it, nor do I want to find out what it is. I wish the would could be paused, and could stay exactly as it is right now—forever. At that I would breathe a transcendental sigh of relief, and perhaps fall dead right then and there in ecstatic peace.
But the world will not be paused.
It will conduct and demand its reckoning. I can’t honestly say that I stand here, ready to face it with courage. Rather, I stand here helpless to do anything else, come what may.
From the outside, that probably amounts to the same thing. From the inside, it’s not the same thing at all. Let’s just get this all over with already.