After the goldrush

photo

Early November on the roof.

I’ve been drunk-binging on nature lately, pulled from my grind-screen work and what I ‘should’ be doing to spend hours just gazing at the wonders of the fall. I end up working way too late to compensate, but you can only see the foliage in the daylight.

Such transformation is amazing. It gives me hope. As in, “I am living in a miracle world, pure, uncut amazing! Anything might happen!”

Well. It’s not all Indian summer breezes, after all. Nope. It’s a world awash in constant pain. Turn on the news or read the stream or listen to the couple behind you in line for a burrito sniping at each other–pain, pain, pain; see the face of the worn-looking woman waiting for the bus, see how a knotted thread of anxiety is pulling her features toward the center of her face, into a pinch of ache. She’s in pain, emotional, physical, spiritual–it doesn’t matter what kind of pain, does it? She’s a human, and she’s hurting.

This week I read a story in the New York Times about an Italian marathon-runner, and not an experienced or well-trained one, who came to New York to run. He was with a loosely-organized group of Italians. He spoke no English. Somewhere along the route of the marathon, he dropped his small amount of cash, along with his hotel key-card and his subway map.

He went missing for around 48 hours, wandering New York in his running clothes, disheveled, hungry, alone. Unable to communicate. After running a whole marathon, so he must’ve been flat-out depleted.  He made his way, somehow, to the airport, knowing his group would be flying out the next day. Security kicked him out, because they thought he was homeless.

A policeman noticed him on the subway the next day, and realized he was the missing foreigner.

According to Office Yam, “He kept turning and looking to the map. He seemed like he was under duress, like he happened to be lost or not knowing where he was going.” Thanks to the officer’s alertness, the hapless marathoner was saved. Happiness! Truly, it was a joyful ending to what must have been a terrifying experience for him.

Still, no mention in the news article of all the actual homeless people who are disheveled, hungry, alone and unable to communicate, who also do not know where they are going, and who are moved along and cursed at and rarely rescued. They have no group to join, it seems. Imagine the marathoner, wandering weak and scared for two whole days. Now imagine wandering—indefinitely. In the cold, in the rain. In the days that come after this golden time ends.

Sometimes I just want to not want to help, to care, to crave, to feel at all. Because I don’t know how to fix it. I can barely  manage myself.

But then: the trees.

The trees are divine spirits. They won’t let me fade into numb oblivion. They remind me that no matter what else is going on, no matter what hurts or what is messed up—that beauty is there, not caring if I eat it up or ignore it, but there all the same. Doesn’t that mean something? I take a picture. I feel pleased, and then sort of shallow at the rush of pleasure all this beauty brings. My inner scold chides me.  A picture of an amazing blazing autumn afternoon won’t heal the world.

A little voice says it might heal some tiny corner of it.

It might remind someone— someone who gets lost fighting things she cannot change—to remember to appreciate the gift of being in this world, on this day. To breathe this autumn air, and feel gratitude.

And maybe that is a tiny little start?

Maybe.

It’s not nearly enough, but you have to begin where you are, and work up from there.

 


 

“Hope without power is no match for fear with power.” –Caroline Myss

Maybe if we empower our hopes, there will be a little less fear in the world?

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  1. #1 by Michael33 on November 7, 2015 - 9:04 am

    Good morning Elaine… This is beautiful and so very meaningful.
    I hope your day is as beautiful as your compassion…
    Michael

  2. #3 by angelamoore2013 on November 7, 2015 - 1:53 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. I know it is like to feel overwhelmed by the world’s sorrows, and to seek solace in nature. Beautifully written (especially “a pinch of ache” – so evocative.) xxx

  3. #5 by Dawn D on November 7, 2015 - 2:29 pm

    The picture is beautiful, the words are even more so!
    Yes, it’s a start. And not even a tiny one.
    To realise the beauty that surrounds us, to share it and remind everyone you touch that it is there… it is enough positive energy to give strength to someone to keep going, to give heart to one who felt despair, to remind them that life is… beautiful too.
    Please, don’t stop. And thank you for sharing.

    • #6 by Elaine Olund on November 7, 2015 - 4:47 pm

      Little by little, right? Thanks for reading and for the encouraging feedback.

      • #7 by Dawn D on November 7, 2015 - 4:58 pm

        You’re welcome. And I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t mean it 🙂
        The words are beautiful, and the picture too!
        Really 🙂

  4. #8 by Ellen Austin-Li on November 8, 2015 - 9:25 am

    I love hearing from “Elaine’s world” — the one filled with blazes of color and words of hope. Sometimes it is only the beauty in nature, what’s right in front of us, that startles me out of my own pain.

  5. #9 by Elaine Olund on November 8, 2015 - 8:33 pm

    Oh, thank you!

  1. Human | Dawn's Nights

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