There are certain nights when I think about how I wasted my day.
And it’s always on the nights following a day of exceptional exception; bluer than what blue should be, and the ocean of the sky full of the kinds of clouds you could almost imagine when you were little and listening to stories told to you by your mommy. You could almost imagine them as perfect as you saw them, but your imagination is impotent in comparison. These clouds—the clouds you saw in the day of the bluest blue ocean of a sky—are wondrous beyond wonder and can’t be painted by any brush or seen with any inner eye.
It’s always on those days, it’s always during the nights following those days that I hate how much time I’ve wasted and what I’ve wasted while waiting for the dark to fall.
So many days could hang this thinking, this idealism around its neck like a chain, like an honorary medal, but it’s nothing more than a participation trophy. If every day could be like these regretful days, or even a lot of days could be lumped into this pallid list of qualification, then really there’s nothing special about losing the most mostest beautiful days. Because they’re worth no more than the shitty days or the average days or the days that are so quickly forgotten because nothing extraordinary in either direction happened.
And I think that wonderful days that are lost to the squalor of man should be revered in their own unique way.
And these days are unique.
You see it immediately when you look to the sky, because everything looks perfect. You know it immediately when you breathe, because everything smells like perfection. And even when that one grating sound—that fucking bird that’s singing the wrong song, or the lawnmower that is rumbling so ugly in the distance, or the inane blather of the soccer moms that are walking a trail near where you are—isn’t enough to ruin the moment, because the perfection of everything else supersedes and reduces the faults to negligible; moot, forgotten. Washed in the blood of Lamb.
And then, maybe if you’re like me, you spend time just taking it in.
You look and you listen and you breathe and you watch and you feel and you try to experience it all so that it leaves a tattoo, a brand upon your soul that you can carry and refer to in later times, when things are bleak like you know they’ll be. You suck in as much as you can carry; a runner lapping water from a cistern, a prisoner gorging themselves on steak and potatoes and french fries and green bean casserole before their death sentence, a father hugging his wife and baby before being deployed to an area with a minimal survival rate. You take it in so deeply—so powerfully—that nothing else matters, and you take no further action.
And if you’ve ever done that (and I know you have) then you may resonate with the song I’m singing now.
Because when we spend too much time—even a second more, or half a thinking, or a portion of a breath—taking in the world and the wondrousness that it is, we aren’t moving. Our minds may be moving and leaping and exalting in the bliss of the world, but our bodies—the cages that contain our minds—are staying still, are only receiving the goodness, and therefore are not moving to become part of the goodness.
And so we stand—you and I have both made this mistake, many many many times. We stand and we experience, and we wonder, as we turn our minds to the clouds—we wonder—”It’s not really so far to them, is it? They don’t look that far away. Why, I bet if the wind blew just right, and I had a running start, I could jump and touch those clouds. Heck, I might even jump through them. I bet that wouldn’t be too hard, cause they’re so close to me.” And in thinking that, we—I—smile and think it’s silly. And that is when the wonder begins to rot, and the chains binding us to the nothing of anything—an abstinence of ambition—begins to form. Because we were too practical to jump to the clouds; to even try to jump to the clouds. Damned be all if we try and miss, but at least we tried. But we don’t try. We settle for feeling something and doing nothing with it, thinking that these moments exist to keep us moving through the dilapidation and fetid cycles of our lives.
But those moments…
If they aren’t more than that, I’ll happily fall asleep and never wake.
Because I believe with everything in me—down to the ragged, nasty, thick, pasty coloured callouses on the bottom of my heels—that those moments exist as a prison break; as a way out of our lives. Nothing may change in terms of our jobs or relationships or our lot in life. But if our minds, if our thinking can change and our values can be altered or bolstered in relation to it, then isn’t that more than enough?
Isn’t thinking in a different way a dangerous and wonderful and miraculous way of breaking free from who you hate and where you’re bound?
And that’s why I hate those days, when I stand in my yard and to the sky I gaze,
and I stare at the clouds and I’m all amazed at the comings and goings of the clouds in the sky.
But all I do is stand and stare,
and the Sun starts to set as it does, and the Moon starts to rise as it should and the stars come to life on cue as it were, and you’d still find me there just standing. Looking, with my hands in my pockets, and not saying, and not doing, just thinking and appreciating but never moving. And as the Night comes full tilt, and the Day’s come and gone,
I’m left with nothing but shame and guilt that I’ve wasted another opportunity.
I’ve not taken a chance set aside for me, nor broken out of the cage with a freely given key,
cause I was too busy staring at the clouds, instead of jumping into them.
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