ColumnConscious life, hear me roar.
Each day we wake up with hope. You may not realize it, but every morning when you brush your teeth, make a part in your hair, swipe your metro card or open the front door, you are subconsciously convinced that today will be a new, hopefully better day. If you were not, you would stay in bed, your teeth would rot, your door would be covered in spider webs from lack of use. Any opportunity you thought you might one day see? Gone.
Opportunity can knock more than once but it gets tired too.
But consider that you are that person putting coffee in a to-go cup and hustling out the door – what is your potential and what will you do today?
A few weeks ago, I was in Plattsburgh, New York, walking down the sidewalk with my 8-year-old niece. It was very quiet and still when she said plainly into the midday heat: “There are so many different ways we could live.”
Her statement made me smile. Yes of course.
“You have the mind of a writer,” I told her to which she walked a little taller suddenly.
But there’s only so much thoughtful information you can tell a child before they shut you off. Only so much I can tell her about how I think about that exact same thing every time I see a tired mother driving and smoking with her kid in the passenger seat, when I see a bent old man feeding pigeons in a park, or when I see two friends saying goodbye at the train station. Where are we all going? Where have we all been? We have all walked so many miles.
Pointing at a spooky old Victorian up for sale I asked: “What if you lived there? What would your life be like?”
She squinted in the midday sun looking at the house. Its drooping front wrap porch, its stained glass windows covered in ivy, a cat jumping out of a nearby bush…
She shrugged and said “Probably pretty scary.” If I was 8, I might say that too.
But flip that idea and imagine the loving family that could have once lived there, mothers knitting with their daughters on the well cared for porch, the brothers sitting on the stoop talking to them, the father pulling in the driveway to a hot supper. At one time that house could have been filled with all the warmth and love any of us could ever dream of.
Could it be that one day, it was too hard to manage the house? The children grew older and went away, the husband passed, the wife, a widow, went to live in a smaller space so as not to have to tend so much? Alone the house sat until the very moment where we stood there staring, as if waiting for someone to come outside with wet hair and a coffee to-go.
It wasn’t really that it was scary, it’s that it wasn’t tended to. The door covered in spider webs, waiting for opportunity to wake up.
Between the Lines is a weekly column by EcoSalon’s Editor-in-Chief on navigating the sometimes-sharp, sometimes-blurred lines of conscious life and culture between city and country, between inner worlds and outer.