Friday, February 21, 2014
There is great ugliness in the world. Without exception its source is human.
Not that nature is kind. Nature is indifferent. Nature just is. Good luck being thrown out into nature.
But humans have what nothing else does. Choice. That should be a longer word. Long enough to encompass the chaos, suffering, pain that result from poor choices, easy choices, thoughtless choices, deliberate choices.
There is beauty, of course. Great, grand beauty - the mountains, the woods, the horizons, the ocean meeting the beach. The things so big they clean you. And there are the small beauties of the minutiae of our lives. The tulips in the vase. The way the little girl laughs. The lady pointing out the rainbow on Lenox Avenue. The tall man in the subway who stops panhandling for a few seconds and addresses you as, 'Hey Red, how you doin'? You be blessed.' The one woman to the other woman with gold lashes in the laundromat: 'Be encouraged. Be encouraged! And fight the good fight. Fight.' So that, folding my husband's T-shirts, I arrange my hair so they can't see I'm crying. And then the first woman introduces herself to Gold Eyelashes and says, 'My name is Jen.'
The small beauties sustain you.
But sometimes the cloud swallows them whole, too. You know, from experience (the young do not know this, nor have the experience, and I am sure this is why more young people kill themselves) that if you sit still long enough, and hold on, that it will lift again.
And then sometimes the devil turns round and asks over his shoulder, But what is the point? So what? There is just more of the same, down this road.
And it's true.
And that is the devil you must choose to resist, and that is when you have to say, Fuck you, devil, there will be flowers on that road, too. And I will bend down, and I will smell those flowers.
Because what is the alternative?