here. It was a beautiful day and a very hard hike; my legs have still not recovered and it's Sunday morning already. But it was totally worth it for the views and the wildflowers.
Last night I tossed and turned and wondered what I would write about this morning. The past few posts have been on the painful side, and the only thing I really hope turns out from this stream of consciousness attempt (hence the title "whatever comes") is that is be uplifting. I'm weary of looking at the past and wondering how I got here. Where is "here," anyway?
I'm reading an interesting book by Henry Alford, "How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People." The inside cover has teasers like "Part family memoir, part Studs Terkel, How to Live is more than just a compendium of sage advice; it is a celebration of living well." So far (I'm on page 61), I'd say that is pretty accurate. Lots of food for thought. Maybe that's one reason why I'm feeling introspective without old memories crowding into my brain.
Alford peered into the philosophies of some old sages: Confucius (551 B.C.—479 B.C.), Buddha (563 B.C.—483 B.C.), and Socrates (470 B.C.—399 B.C.). For some reason I noticed that all three of these sages were right around 70 years old when they died, and I'm getting right up there with what has for so long been considered a full, complete life. What wisdom have I come up with? Not that I put myself into the same category as these old sages, but heck, who's to say I can't come up with some modern equivalent? For one thing, we in the modern age have unprecedented access to so much information, not to mention a new paradigm for communication: the blogosphere, which allows me to ruminate and share my thoughts, with instant feedback and unlimited possibilities. I have at this moment 78 followers, which means, if we were in a room together, it would have to be a big one. I picture the virtual classroom where we are gathered, with ideas and warm sentiments being shared. Lots of virtual hugs, too. This scene makes me smile just to think of it.
Last night I went to see "The Help," a movie adapted from a novel I read recently. Scenes from that movie kept coming up to me during my nighttime tossing. Viola Davis is magnificent as Aibileen, one of the main characters. The film adaptation is every bit as good as the book, to me, but something about the movie kept nagging at me. The theater was crowded, and people laughed and applauded at parts they liked, which always changes my experience, causing me to get caught up in the shared experience. After reading the reviews, I was able to put my finger on the same nagging discomfort that I felt from the book as well: somehow the interpretation of black maids in 1960s-era Jackson, Mississippi, flattened the historical era into larger-than-life villains and heroines. I lived through that time, too; it was a time like no other, but it was very complex. This is not to say I didn't like the book or the movie. Both were very worthwhile, and I wonder what other people think.
After all, I'm here in this new era: the crowded room where we share with one another gives me access to the wisdom and insight of all of you. I'm sitting here in the still-dark morning, laptop and cup of tea at hand, thinking large thoughts and smiling to myself. Today I'll get up and head down to Snohomish to jump out of airplanes with my friends (hopefully), come home tired and renewed, and check my email to find out how this stream of consciousness blog went over with you.