Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The loveliness of metamorphosis

The lanes down which I walked all winter when they were wide and bare and starkly beautiful are now close and warm and lush and full. I've been walking and wondering why I've not been so awestruck by the night sky as I was, and then I realized that it's because I'm so distracted by the glistening arms of the trees reaching out into the road and arching up into the sky, and by the flat lawns and bare forest floor that have suddenly grown up into jungles of tall grass and flowers, and by the tree shadows that have transformed from woodcuts into tissue paper collages, making softly variegated asphalt surfaces each evening. And the loveliest thing about spring and early summer is the puddles--the rain-shined roads and the running ditches, swimming lowlands and storm drains filled to flooding. Tonight I passed a gravel driveway that held a large, still pool, wherein were reflected the dark branches of the trees, and the full moon peering through. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

David used to tease me a little about having so many favorites and so many superlatives, but appreciated, at least somewhat, that I was (often) serious about them. I was, and I am. I say "most beautiful" so often, and I know it sounds silly. But there are so many different kinds of beauty. The beauty of that puddle--of the night reflected in the water--can't be compared to the beauty of even simply the day reflected in the water, much less to the beauty of a flower or a newly molted cicada or a towering roller coaster, a much-needed scientific breakthrough or sweet nephew climbing a tree. They are each different, each precious, each superlative.

Something I've been meaning to say:
Lately I have been slowly coming to realize the meaning of the phrase "live without regrets," or at least the way it can apply to myself. Maybe it's different for others, but I have never liked this idea. I have always felt that those who claimed to live without regrets were either delusional or disgustingly lucky. As I said, though, lately my perspective has been shifting. The other day I was listening to a friend talk about past time wasted, and it wasn't the first time. I was beginning to notice a pattern of wallowing in past regrets, and it occurred to me that the only reason that the time in question was "wasted," in my opinion, was that we were still talking about it, rather than accepting it, learning from it, and moving forward. It was still pulling my friend's life into revolution around itself. It was creating more waste. So I have decided: missteps and mistakes happen to everyone--but the only time wasted is time from which I do not learn and grow.

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