Joe is another gift of mine that I discovered on Twitter (@GastonGuy). We share a common bond that unites us in ways that I never knew could be so rewarding. I asked him to write something for "me" and this is the beauty within that I know and love about Joe.
Thank you friend!
“In Africa a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon and you have no more respect for it than for the lovely, perfect weed-fringed lake you see across the sun-baked salt plain. You have walked across that plain in the morning and you know that no such lake is there. But now it is there absolutely true, beautiful and believable.” – Ernest Hemingway
August, 2001. I’m sitting outside. The thick Florida heat beats down upon the rooftop of my home. I glance up at the soffit vents to the mirage like heat waves. It must be over 100 degrees sitting in the shade. A cigarette and bourbon in one hand while petting my best bird dog with the other. She pants vigilantly at my side. I could not imagine the changes in my life that had taken place. It was the end of crazed, twisted road of pain and grief. My decisions had left me at the end of a road with no hope or vision of the future. I was 24. I was alone.
A month would go by. No help in sight. Worldly clamors were shaping the events around me while I slipped deeper into an abyss that moved me further away from the reality of my state of affairs, my friends and my family. Of course there was no truth or sane rationality that led me to this point. Whether I was working off of sorted relationship issues or my personal view of what reality should look like both now and in the future, neither was correct.
I was wrapped in a world of fear twisted by a mental state after ignoring the conciseness that had already told me right from wrong. I made the decisions; I believed the mirage. The beauty that was perceived was never there in the first place. Unlike my faithful companion, who only saw what was in front of her, the heat, and the days-gone-by of the end of summer, I needed the shock of reality to change. How dark it is before the dawn of the new day.
Ancients Egyptians would follow the sun god into his journey from day to night. The ancients would attribute a successful battle against the monsters of the underworld with the rise of the sun the next day. A facet of life the ancients had no control over. The sun was guaranteed to come up the next day. Like myself, I have no control. I discovered it was up to me to realize this – to look at the reality, see it for what it is, and move forward with new found solutions. The sun will come up. This is the reality. It is in the now.
While my faithful companion from those days has since passed on, I realized that as humans we often overlook the rudimentary outlook to life my companion gave me. Why do I seek what is out there when the reality is in front of me? The past is in the past and the future is yet to come.
I often attribute human personas onto my furry friends. They do not share our emotions. Animals understand what they need. Life is put into two simple reactions: do nothing or react. This was to be my new outlook on life. When all else fails, pause to seek solutions. Changes are inevitable. I have the freedom to change the direction anytime I choose.
Today I look back at those days. I would have never guessed the changes that have taken place since then while sitting in the heat sweating over the mirage of life that I had made. Life goes exactly as it is supposed to. I could not realize that I would move, go back to college, graduate at the top of my class, find a great companion in life, get a new job, leave that job, get a better job, discover new people, be able to share my thoughts with others, maintain a roof over my head, rescue and foster more dogs, and have a life that looks nothing like what my young mind perceived it should be.
Living in the now means accepting what is around me. I can sit calmly and analyze this very moment in life. I can be honest and listen to the consciousness within. I can make mistakes. I can learn from things. I don’t have to wish for something that is not real. I have the experience of standing in the center of the plain. What matters most is the ability to look from within. I can see the trees, understand where I’m at, and be grateful that I am living a truthful life, beautiful and believable. Life is a fun adventure. I’m grateful to be a part of the journey.
Gaston County, North Carolina