Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ANOTHER YEAR…


The sun is not quite up, here along the river. From what I can see through my workroom window, the sky is slightly overcast, the light soft and shadowless. Redbirds in the cedar tangles are singing. A robin in the top of the dooryard box elder is swinging through his lyrical melody. And in the pool in front of the cottage, the Canada geese are honking belligerently at one another.

Today is my birthday…and I hope you'll forgive me for departing from the usual nature-based fare for a few self-reflective comments. Nothing earth-shattering, mind you; no unveiling of any great secrets; no imparting of timeless wisdom. Just a few observations on a green May morning while I sip my coffee and consider the day ahead.

There was a time in my late youth when I aspired to be wealthy, handsome, and wise—an erudite bon vivant man-of-the-world. I have failed miserably on every count. Instead of a sprawling mansion in the suburbs, I live in a small stone cottage beside a small, pastoral stream. You've only to look at my mug shot to see how badly I missed the second aspiration. As for wisdom…the more I've learned, the less I know. Moreover, I prefer wearing jeans, tee-shirts, and sneakers, eating in country cafés and trading friendly quips with those around, to sitting at the head table at the most exclusive clubs and establishments, exchanging societal gossip and perspicacious insights with the real "movers and shakers."    

I also intended to pursue a life of swashbuckling adventure. While I've certainly had more than my share of adventures, feats of heroic derring-do have seldom occurred, and both damsels-in-distress and dragons needing slaying have proven to be in noticeably short supply. Mostly I've caught a lot of lovely fish from back-of-beyond wilderness streams where bears and eagles outnumbered people, and the stars at night almost came close enough to touch.

I have no regrets whatsoever about how things have turned out.

What I have learned is that life is a gift and death inevitable. Between this finite span, we live only in the here-and-now…and we can either squander or savor each precious moment. There is always a choice.

I know that honesty, decency, courage, and compassion mean more to me than any sort of wealth or power. I'd rather give than receive, because the surest way to enlarge you life is to share yourself. Sometimes, to really own something, you have to give it away. 

I've learned the right path to follow is usually the hardest. I strive to live an honorable life, to follow the Golden Rule—and when I fail, I diminish and disappoint myself. Vengeance is never sweet. I'd rather be humble than proud.   

It's better to love than to hate. When people love you, love them back. Tell them; show them. True friends are not all that common, but are one of life's greatest treasures. Friendship should always be reciprocal. Never miss an opportunity to let someone know how much you care about them. Nothing beats forgiveness and understanding. A warm hug is way better than a cold heart.

Finally, I know that God—not fate or self-determination—is the master of my life. I've tried it the other way and found life to be empty, worthless, and ultimately devoid of meaning. The physical and intellectual simply aren't enough; there is always a void. All the logic and rationalizing in the world didn't make it feel better; I couldn't deny or disbelieve it away. 

God has been really good to me. I am here, having made it to another year, by His grace.  

I am so grateful.
——————— 





32 comments:

Bonnie said...

Everything that has appeared on this blog is testimony that corroborates your description of the values with which you guide your life. Nothing you have said here today can be a surprise to anyone who has followed your missives. You reveal your depth, wisdom, reverence, humility and love with every word and image. You have certainly been one of the rare, best finds in my journey through the blogosphere.

Happy Birthday dear Grizz. Seems fitting that you entered the world in Spring and get to add your birth day to all the things you treasure and celebrate about this season.

Michael Bartneck said...

Great words of wisdom my freind!Excellent photo,Happy Birthday and don't worry man,age,for the most part, is in the heart and mind!As far as looks and money go,if you pardon my being a bit cliche, I can only tell you beauty is in the eye of the beholder and money can't buy everything.And although some of us may be a tad "Weedy",those amonst us who realize the truths of life ,find them handsome aswell!;)And just incase your wondering now..Don't even let it cross your mind..I've been married for 25 years.lol!

Gail said...

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRIZZ" - I love your words of self reflection - and like our often similar weather so too my sentiments are like yours. and I am honored to call you friend.
Love Gail
peace......

Wanda..... said...

Well, if I can compose myself...I will compose a comment. Who could want more in life than to be content.

Happy Birthday!

Jain said...

Happy, happy birthday, Grizz!

Richard said...

Well said. I'd say you would wealthy.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Thank you so much for your kind and lovely comments. I strive, always, to be a man of my word…to practice what I preach—and try my best to live by these values, choices, and beliefs each and every day. Some days I do a better job than others.

I blog because I so enjoy the wonderful people who visit this riverbank and comment—you being a prime example—who I consider more friends than mere readers, and genuinely care about. I'm sure I receive more than I give.

I've always considered it the greatest good fortune to have been born in May. There is no better month during the year, in my mind—no finer time to go fishing or wildflowering or rambling about the greening woods. There simply isn't a better month than May for a birthday!

Grizz………… said...

Michael…

Thank you…and I almost believe you re. that business about age being mostly in the heart and mind. I haven't felt much older mentally in decades—perhaps not since about my mid-twenties. And even then, everyone always told me I was acting like a kid. If being a kid is being open to excitement and wonder, of enjoying play more than work, and of never taking most things too serious—then I'm guilty.

But…there are morning when try and crawl from the rack I think the geezer fairy must have visited me during the night and smited (is that a word?) me with his magic wand.

Hey, don't worry about any misunderstanding. I wasn't wondering.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Thank you…and I assure you, the honor of friendship is mutual. You are always a delight.

Grizz………… said...

Wanda…

Thank you—and you're right, being content in your own skin and at peace with yourself is one of life's greatest blessings.

Grizz………… said...

Jain…

Thank you. I really appreciate you and the thoughts we've shared. Now, if only this oncoming rain isn't too heavy…

Grizz………… said...

Richard…

Thank you. I am, indeed, wealthy; rich in so many ways that have noting to do with money.

Robin said...

I think you're handsome and I know you're wise and you are certainly one of the most wealthy people I know.

A riverbank is far more valuable than a castle and a partner who loves and understands you is invaluable. A good dog-friend is pretty telling, as well.

Thank you for being a friend to me, and I wish you the best of birthdays.

God was kind when he planted you here, and you've spread like Gill-over-the-ground.... giving everyone around you the gift of photos, time and wisdom.

Thank you.

Cicero Sings said...

Godliness with contentment is great gain. From contentment springs joy. Contentment and joy seem to be so lacking ... as I pass the people on the street. I'm in the big city at the moment, where the lack is more evident given the sheer numbers but it is in the country too. To achieve contentment/joy ... that's a good thing. Happy Birthday.

Julie Baumlisberger said...

A little late, but hopefully not too late to wish you another wonderful turn of the wheel. It's been a pleasure to visit your blog, to enjoy your beautiful photographs and insightful commentary...Wishing you health and happiness, Grizz! Julie

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

Whatever I promised I'd pay you to say I'm handsome…I'm going to double it! As to being wise—that's just a good education from the School of Hard Knocks…and I have the scars to prove it. Wealthy? Depends on the currency involved—though sometimes it hard to get a good exchange rate on turkey vultures, squirrels, and violets.

Seriously, thank you. Good friends (you being one), a daughter and wife who know me really well and love me anyway. A faithful old dog. This modest riverbank cottage. I don't have all I want, but I have all I need. And comparing me to Gill-over-the-ground simply makes my day!

Grizz………… said...

Cicero…

I am filled with joy and pretty content. There are days when I'm not all that happy—but then I've always been moody. But I have peace in my life, and fear only myself. I am wonderfully blessed.

Thank you for your nice comments, and for visiting regularly. I appreciate both.

Grizz………… said...

Julie…

Not too late at all! We're just in from have dinner and a visit with my daughter and son-in-law, and fellow father-in-law on the far side of the city.

Thank you for the birthday wishes and the lovely comments. I hope you always enjoy your visits here.

AfromTO said...

May you celebrate a few more of these contented years and share with us your slice of heaven-thanks for spreading the joy-happy birthday and may health and happiness visit you often.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Thank you. And I assure you, I'll do my best to stretch the time and experience to the limit—and to share all I can.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Ooh Happy Birthday Grizz - a bit late for the day, but have a nextra slice of cake - we'll have some here to celebrate!

It's lovely to visit blogland and your beautiful place here. Savouring the precious moment, (borrowing your phrase there!)

Grizz………… said...

Raph…

Hey! It's been a while—but you're never late and always welcome here on the riverbank. I just figured you were off on some nexpedition somewhere. Thank you for the birthday wishes…and I say we both have a second piece of cake!

George said...

Sorry I'm a little late getting here, Grizz, but I want to wish you a heartfelt Happy Birthday. Frankly, I think that your youthful aspirations have been fully satisfied. As your love of life and nature attests, you are wealthy beyond measure; your gratitude for the blessings that have come your way speaks of a deep wisdom that is all to absent in our society; and, while I am no expert on male pulchritude, I suspect that the opposite sex, including your ladylove, finds the riverbank poet to be quite handsome. After all, what is more handsome than a man with true spiritual wealth and abundant gratitude.

Your reflections on the meaning of it all deeply resonates with me, for seldom does a day pass without my taking another inventory of my own life. One of the great gifts of age is getting a slightly better perspective on the larger scheme of things, realizing the wisdom of the old biblical preacher who reminds us that "all is vanity," at least with respect to what passes as man's worldly affairs. Like you, I take comfort i knowing that my life has meaning and purpose, both of which become more evident as I simplify things and resist the temptations of the ego. LIve, love, learn, grow, and always remain humble and grateful. What else can a man do?

Once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Grizz………… said...

George…

Your words are not late…but perfectly on time. I was just sitting here thinking about many things—lost in an introspective balancing out while doing those personal sums which enable me to look in the mirror as I shave without electing to cut my throat. Your comments were truly welcome and appreciated, even if some of them are only mostly true on my better days.

The older I get, the more I understand the truth that a life well led must be one simplified—for it is only when you dig down to the very bedrock and involve your heart and energy in the few basics that genuine peace and joy can be found. Love and purpose, compassion, balance, beauty, belief, sharing—these satisfy the soul and make us whole. They are often frightening concepts when practiced at the fundamental level.

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts…and I'm honored to count you as my friend. Thank you.

The Solitary Walker said...

I know I'm late, but Happy Birthday, my friend ... wise and reflective words indeed in your post. Well said.

Grizz………… said...

Raph G. Neckmann …

Ooh Happy Birthday Grizz - a bit late for the day, but have a nextra slice of cake - we'll have some here to celebrate!

It's lovely to visit blogland and your beautiful place here. Savouring the precious moment, (borrowing your phrase there!)


Raph…

Hey! It's been a while—but you're never late and always welcome here on the riverbank. I just figured you were off on some nexpedition somewhere. Thank you for the birthday wishes…and I say we both have a second piece of cake!

Grizz………… said...

George has left a new comment on your post "ANOTHER YEAR…":

Sorry I'm a little late getting here, Grizz, but I want to wish you a heartfelt Happy Birthday. Frankly, I think that your youthful aspirations have been fully satisfied. As your love of life and nature attests, you are wealthy beyond measure; your gratitude for the blessings that have come your way speaks of a deep wisdom that is all to absent in our society; and, while I am no expert on male pulchritude, I suspect that the opposite sex, including your ladylove, finds the riverbank poet to be quite handsome. After all, what is more handsome than a man with true spiritual wealth and abundant gratitude.

Your reflections on the meaning of it all deeply resonates with me, for seldom does a day pass without my taking another inventory of my own life. One of the great gifts of age is getting a slightly better perspective on the larger scheme of things, realizing the wisdom of the old biblical preacher who reminds us that "all is vanity," at least with respect to what passes as man's worldly affairs. Like you, I take comfort i knowing that my life has meaning and purpose, both of which become more evident as I simplify things and resist the temptations of the ego. LIve, love, learn, grow, and always remain humble and grateful. What else can a man do?

Once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


George…

Your words are not late…but perfectly on time. I was just sitting here thinking about many things—lost in an introspective balancing out while doing those personal sums which enable me to look in the mirror as I shave without electing to cut my throat. Your comments were truly welcome and appreciated, even if some of them are only mostly true on my better days.

The older I get, the more I understand the truth that a life well led must be one simplified—for it is only when you dig down to the very bedrock and involve your heart and energy in the few basics that genuine peace and joy can be found. Love and purpose, compassion, balance, beauty, belief, sharing—these satisfy the soul and make us whole. They are often frightening concepts when practiced at the fundamental level.

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts…and I'm honored to count you as my friend. Thank you.

giggles said...

Another belated birthday wish has arrived!!! Here's to another good year! Hallelujah!!

Grizz………… said...

Solitary…

Friends are never late. Thank you…and thank you most of all for being someone I do count as a friend. I appreciate you, Robert.

Grizz………… said...

Giggles…

Hey, belated just means I get to enjoy things longer. Thank you.

AfromTO said...

Just wondering is the purple behind in photo a lilac tree?Already?

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

No, the white blooms are dogwood and the purple/magenta is a fading redbud. A few lilacs here are still in bloom, but most have come and gone already.