Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life is like an onion: you peel it off one
layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

Carl Sandburg, American poet; he was
born on this date, 1878

Sandburg once said that he had written poetry that he didn’t even understand! But this quote isn’t one of those. I think of Sandburg (albeit not having read huge amounts of his work) as one of that group of American philosopher-poets: simple and wise and uncomplicated.

Yes, sometimes we weep. It’s a given of being human. And it’s important – hell, there is a lot of stuff about being mortal and built to decay that should bring on tears! I remember being in Liberia. Children would die, either at birth or soon after. Mothers and their women friends would carry on working ….. but at the funeral, screeches and wails would pierce the air. It almost looked staged ….. but it was the necessary “getting it out”. But then, community and conviviality at the feast, and then on with Life.

We are peelers, we human beings. We ought to teach each other - in education, socialization, religion, in all ways - to peel, peel, peel. It’s always about Life, not mortality. Every day we’re alive, another layer to be explored. We will die, all of us, sooner or later. That fact lets us Live ….. or should. Sandburg once said “”mysteriously”: “A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake.”

We’re Peelers. “Weeping may come with the night ….. but joy comes in the morning”.

Sandburg also said:

I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes,
so live not in your yesterdays, nor just
for tomorrow, but in the here and now.
Keep moving and forget the post
mortems; and remember, no one can
get the jump on the future.


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