May 12, 2007

Killer Alien Roaches

It has become a tradition to get away for my birthday. Each year, for the past three, we have spent the time in Yosemite.
This year we drove through the rain and a sudden snow storm over the hill to a breath-taking site. Half Dome stood spotlighted by the only break in the clouds. Surrounded by rain, fog, and gloom, it stood as a testament to perseverance.
In our time, we explored small nooks and crannies in the rocks, woods, and river banks that we had always missed as we pursued more sizable and substantial views. Upon reflection, I realized that this is becoming more and more normal.
I am officially declaring that the funk is over, I'm finding new fervor and strength in our quest for simplicity. Here is the thing: simplicity is a journey, not a destination...that always sounded trite and pretentious (not to mention hokey) but, it is true. We will never arrive at simplicity, it is a choice that we make hundreds of times each day. But, the evidence that it is taking hold lies in the enjoyment of simple pleasures.
I shot the above picture of Violet as she splashed in puddles left over from the intensely cold rain. I long to find such joy in simple things as my children do. They can make every item in a camp site an adventure. Each rock becomes a space ship or a pirate ship and the ground between suddenly becomes hot lava or shark infested water. There is nothing in a child that says, "How can this be a pirate ship? There aren't any sails..." Children have an uncanny knack for seeing life as they imagine it, and they imagine it is good. They are overtly optimistic while most adults are ridiculously pessimistic. We can't do this because we don't have that. We aren't able to go there because this needs to be done. Our situation will never improve because of...
Finally I saw the space ship and cruised off to uncharted worlds. I battled dragons, swam with sharks, stepped over every crack in the pavement so the world didn't explode; and you know what I found? Joy. Right there, all along, waiting for me to turn off the "can't, won't, shouldn't," machine.
I believe that the wisdom of children lies in the narrowness of their worldview. They aren't concerned with anything they cannot control, this gives them very little to worry about. Add to this ability the faith they have in us (parents) and others and you have a very secure and well adjusted being. Sure, they get scarred about silly things (so do I), sure, they mess up once in a while (so do I) sure, they need help sometimes (getting the picture yet?), but, they can see that life is good, they see where life is good, they see good in all people, they find joy in the most simple things.
I'm tired of being an adult, childhood is a much better way to live. I'm going back. Come out to play if you dare...oh yeah, watch out for the killer alien roaches, they're nasty this time of year.

1 comment:

Caren said...

I love this post, Matt. Your mention of the "can't won't shouldn't" machine reminded me of an old Shel Silverstein poem I memorized when I was in the third grade, which has never left me:

Listen to the "mustn't"s child,
Listen to the "don't"s.
Listen to the "shouldn't"s,
The "impossible"s, the "won't"s.
Listen to the "never have"s,
Then listen close to me...

As always, wishing your family the best on your journey. You're an inspiration to many.