Monday, October 3, 2011

Q & A

most days there seem to be more questions than answers. life's just like that. on occasion the opposite holds true. the answers appear before the questions have even been asked.

here is what i mean.

when henrietta and i finally get to the end of the trail, we spread a blanket on the pebbly beach beside the fjord and relax and eat our superb sandwiches and just-picked strawberries. we talk and then we are quiet again, staring over the rippling water and soaking up the sun—at times there is simply no need for words. but at one point she says to me "this is what it's all about" or something to that effect.

and another time....

i stand with my hands on my hips near the rocky outcropping and inhale the sweet, piney air on top of bradbury mountain, a grand misnaming because the mountain is actually a large, forested hill masquerading as a mountain. a fellow hiker, unknown to me, walks over beside me and looks in the direction i am looking, east toward casco bay. after a moment he remarks to me or the mountain or the sky or all of the above "boy, this is what it's all about."

i'm getting answers left and right to a deep question, a heavy, heavy question, one of the weightiest philosophical questions of all, and it has not even been posed: what's life all about? or, put another way, what's important to you in life? what makes you happy?

around this neck of the woods the answers which my family, friends and neighbors might supply for that question would be remarkably, unquestionably similar (i didn't conduct a poll, i didn't ask my hair stylist or acupuncturist or anyone specific. it is only that i just know what people would say, if they haven't in fact already told me anecdotally, which in a lot of cases they have.) the answers would go something like this, including stuff "my people" like to do:

"my people" would say #1 is being with the people i love, you know, my husband/wife, family and friends (and dogs!); also, staying in reasonably good health so i can be active; learning new things; participating in organizations to help with causes i believe in; and, when i can, doing the things i enjoy doing like traveling, hiking, reading, skiing, writing, boating, running, fishing, gardening, other hobbies.... or some very close variation on those themes.

not a single person i am close to now has ever indicated that the one thing he or she wants out of life is to be rich, although should they come into a lot of money they have a good idea how they are going to spend it. years ago i was acquainted with three people whose goal in life was to make a million dollars before they were thirty. two of them have attained that goal and the third has not. who is "happier"? are they happy today? i don't have a real answer to that, only small clues.

so..... here we are, having come full circle from a question to an answer back to a question again: (drum roll, please)—what is life all about? 

that nagging question is always looking for an answer.

fjords and mountaintops offer a silent reply.

~  happy october and happy monday, people!  ~

1 comment:

alexandra said...

I like this post. I thought about it while I was jogging in the beautiful mountains with leaves turning many colors this morning.