Sunday, January 6, 2013

Where do you dwell?

Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back.

Katherine Mansfield


Hello Marty


I moved to my present location last March and when I did I took with me a lot of books and papers, some of the papers were in envelopes that hadn't been opened in years. In one of them I found my Selective Service Registration card, better known as the Draft Card. Don't ask me why I still have it, there hasn't been a draft in this country in many years, and even if there was I doubt the government would send this old loon out to Fort Dix for basic training. The Drill Sergeant would take one look at me, laugh and send me home. I wish the government would try it though, it might make a good story.

I note that the address on my Draft Card is wrong. It wasn't wrong at the time. When the time came for me to register we, my mother and I, were homeless. That was before the days of shelters and other services so we put in wherever we could for a night, a week or more. Since I needed a fixed address on the Draft Card I used a family friend's. Since then that whole neighborhood has been torn down, rebuilt and that address doesn't even exist anymore.

And so it is with most things in the past. They disappear. What remains is mostly in the gossamer world of memory Even if we can hold a hard piece of evidence like my Draft Card it can't tell me anything about who I was or what my life was like to me back then. The past changes. That's why I don't dwell in it. It deprives me of something.

The future is the same. It perpetually and irritatingly doesn't turn out the way we expect it to. We may project a tomorrow, an out come, a destiny and it is certain to be not what we projected at all. As Yogi Berra so eloquently put it "The future ain't what it used to be." I don't dwell in the future. It deprives me of something.

To live in the past or the future deprives me of the here and now, the present, the only time that can be measured as life living. The exciting thing about the here and now is that it is filled with ideas. We are surrounded by ideas, we live in a universe of ideas. Ideas flow through our present lives like sub atomic particles dashing through our bodies. If we are closed up in the past or the future we can't be alert to those ideas and see the manifestations of them in our lives. Those manifestations may be simple or complex, ideas of technology, engineering, design, science, art, government, ethics. Look at the winter tree. At the end of each of those barren branches is an idea, a bud waiting to manifest itself and become a leaf or a blossom. We are surrounded by a world of invisible ideas wailing to be seen I dwell in the lively, exhilarating, interesting, sometimes frightening, but always abundant present. Where do you dwell?


Dana Bate

The 1,950 edition of Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


1 comment:

Jon said...

I certainly hope they don't start drafting old loons - I'd probably be their first pick.

I seldom think about the future, but I often think about the past in order to forget about the present. How confusing is that?

I agree that it's best to only focus on the present - because it's all that we really have....