Monday, March 8, 2010

Open The Book

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little.

Buddha
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This morning I woke at 7:30. In my retirement I'm known to awaken anywhere between 5:30 and 11:30 depending on how much time I spent arguing with my computer the night before. Whenever I get up early I'm always pleased to feel that I have that much more of a day to do things. And what I do is write, paint, read and learn things. In my senior years I've become a scholar, something I had no interest in being when I approached college.

I think we should all be born educated. Youth is too much fun to waste it studying to pass tests. That's one of nature's big jokes. Another one is why seniors can't remember things. I can reel off about 25 to 30 names in the next 2 minutes, of composers, authors, painters, actors and friends. Why is it the only name I can't remember is the one I'm trying to think of? Let's face it, Mother Nature is a humorist. If she weren't she would never have made the koala, the giraffe, the penguin and the wart hog.

A few days ago I wrote about how sad it is that there is so much to learn no one person could ever know it all, but that it is also a joy to know there is always something more to learn.

Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to live in a cottage by the sea, to sit on my back porch with a cold beer, listen to the waves and watch the seagulls do their thing. But that's not my way. I have to be content with an occasional glimpse of the river, the song of a single bird in the tree outside, with no company but a mug of Maxwell House.

I love to learn new things and relearn some old ones. For one thing the combination of a curious intellect and 7 decades of life experience gives one a healthy perspective on the world. It is easier now to tell the difference between what is serious and what is not, and that most importantly includes myself. I spent too many years taking myself too seriously. Now I can laugh. As long as I avoid the things I regret, I can have a jolly time and laugh at myself for getting annoyed because I've run out of donuts or bananas.

I always want and expect to accomplish more than I do everyday. I will be busy writing, painting or reading and become a little depressed when I see darkness and old night creeping through my window. But once again Mother Nature, in her infinite solitaire game, provides me with another day. The sun is up, the bird is awake, the river is still rolling and I have a book to open.

In the mail today I got a brochure from a book club, and one of the books advertised is: "The Overflowing Brain, Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory" by Torkel Kingsberg. I'm not going to buy the book even at their gracious special offer. I don't want to be told about limits to my working memory just because I can't remember someone's name when I want to. Besides I need the money for donuts and bananas. But I am amused at one of the critical remarks about it from the Sacramento Book Review which says "...the increasing demands on the brain might be just what we need." I'll drink to that. Why stop thinking and learning just because you seem to have passed the Marathon running age? A younger man might say "Why do you bother leaning new things? What are you going to do with all that knowledge?" My answer would be "I'm going to know it. That's what. What do you do with half the stuff you learned in college?"

I rise up in thanks for the little bit I learned today that I didn't know yesterday.
Why do I learn things Mr. Buddha? Because I enjoy it. And as much as possible, and contrary to the nihilism of some confused teachers and preachers, life was meant by the Creator to be enjoyed.

DB - The Vagabond
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"These are the last days!"
WINTER QUESTION
(This is not a contest.)

Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.

You have Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
Only 20 responses so far.

DB - The Vagabond

7 comments:

Arlene (AJ) said...

Go for it DB, even learning a little bit more each day is a great thing. I know I'm always open to learning something new like you. Truly believe it keeps the brain and mind younger and lets us want to reach for another day....that can't be wrong. Have a good day your way, dear.

Big Mark 243 said...

Another thought provoking post, DB.

Linda's World said...

Good entry. I can remember in the 9th grade we HAD to take Washington state history. I hated it. Probably barely passed the class. But now 50 some years later, I would love to take that same class again. But at the coummunity college level, it's more than I can afford. So now I just read all the books I can find on the subject. If I had the resources, I would buy a motor home & hit the road. I would visit all my Blogger friends in the USA plus visit places like Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, New York city, Washington DC, Cape Cod....well all the states in our great country. Linda here in Washington the state

Gerry said...

It is always fun for me to think about what book I am going to read next which is how I do most of my traveling now days, through the author of a book, even back through time to ancient cities and countries that may be altered or even have disappeared. Thanks to those who write about them we can still know what they are like. I took a journey through India recently by railroad with a travel writer who used to be one of my favorites, Paul Theroux. The India he saw has probably changed considerably but I still found it very fascinating to read about what he saw like hundreds of people in Ceylon going to sleep in public, wrapped up for the night on the ground. That image really struck in my mind. I will probably always think of that when I think Ceylon.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

My memory for work related things is pretty good, but my personal life memories are much harder to dredge up. Not sure what that means.

As far as reading and such, I love it when I can find the time to turn the pages.

Judith Ellis said...

"Besides I need the money for donuts and bananas."

This made me smile the biggest smile. I also love the Buddha quote. Lovely post, DB. Thank you, dear sir.

That corgi :) said...

I do have to say, DB, that you are indeed a learner in this season of your life and you share your learnings with others

to answer your winter question of what I would do in 2010, I would say

trust.....wholeheartedly and completely trust God this year. that is my goal and my "buzz" word for this year. No matter what happens. Just trust he knows best and he is in control.

betty