The Boy and The Well

Recently, I came to this realization. I had one of those rare moments when you kind of just have to stop…remind yourself to breathe. Close your eyes and dwell on what just ran through all those firing synapses. That beautiful phenomenon that sparks something new and dangerous inside of your mind.

We all have these memories of these seemingly “perfect” moments in our lives. Those events that stand out above all else; a line someone said, a deeply moving gesture, an entire day where every note rang to it’s desired pitch almost effortlessly. Those moments in our lives that just remind us how wonderfully beautiful and simple life can be. A moment that, regardless how brief, is now immortalized when seared into our memories. Photographed to look back on. Our memories become a well of happiness to draw from when our souls are parched from the lack of it.

I have been experiencing these perfect days lately. And perfection, much like beauty, is relative to the man who defines it. And every man has his own idea of heaven. Who is to say Heaven isn’t visible in these moments? The rare moments chained together with exuberant laughter and fond affections. These days when the hustle of everything around me just stops and for a moment, it feels as if I am the only thing in focus to the universe. And it’s these moments I yearn for. When you just know in your heart that this; right here, is the only place in the whole universe you’d want to be.

Days spent lost in nature. Discovering something new and unseen. Trying desperately to expand my very small world. Nights spent in marvelous company. Where the drinks are as bountiful as our laughter. Those evenings were you can just shut the fuck up and enjoy the silence. The company of everyone’s audience. When the lack of words was just as meaningful as when we were speaking them. The presence of dear friends. Days simplified, but I have learned; sometimes simplicity is far from being simply simple. And the little things that burn into our atmospheres often leave the biggest impact.

I need these days, those moments. I need them to remind me that life can be like this. That it can taste this sweet. It can be this gloriously simple and wonderful. And I ask myself, why can’t it always be like this? Why can’t everyday be spent in pursuit of happiness? Who says it can’t? What is stopping us from searching for that perfect cherry blossom?

And it hit’s me; it’s the nature of human beings that complicates things. So often, unnecessarily so. I am talking about human nature. I am talking about the nature we as humans have adopted and adapted to in this modern society.

I heard somewhere that you cannot change reality, only your perception. As I got older and more cognitive of the world around me, when I immersed myself in this dance, I will admit, I was taken aback. My innocence was short lived and things such as naivety and ignorance were luxuries I couldn’t afford. I stepped away from the floor and came to observe people and the way they moved. I listened to different pieces, I observed the motions and the way this modern waltz was played.  And people and their actions were sometimes so unfathomable to me. I just couldn’t understand why people so often chose conflict over resolution. I couldn’t make sense of it. Growing up with conflict after conflict, nay; surrounded by it, I got used to it. After a while, the indifference of men ceases to surprise you. The tragedy is then you become indifferent. You get hard and you get calloused. Your tongue becomes as sharp as your eyes. As the seasons change, your rhetorical questions are answered and you begin to understand how people come to be the way they are.

The unfathomable is now, tragically; fathomable.

It’s our pride. Our arrogance. Our reluctance to admit defeat, even long after we have been defeated. We seek victory in conflict, no matter how small or large to boost that ever growing sense of prideful vanity. Our selfish desires to meet our own needs rather than satiate some one elses. Our damn right, fucking refusal to let go of past wrongs. We are so often quick to fall to our knees and beg for forgiveness, but when do we try and sympathize with our own offenders and try and forgive them? Our indifference to the plight of our brothers and sisters is almost comical. Our bleeding hearts scab so quickly when we don’t know how to stop the bleeding. Soon, eventually, it stops. The wound heals over layers and layers. That soft, fist sized organ, once open in arms, is now hard and clenched. And our cynicism ages like a wine; it tastes so much finer with age.

But it’s a joke now. It’s all a fucking joke. A sick sense of humor so often disguising the underlying truth that we are far more fucked up than we thought or ever want to admit.

Everyone is probably just as crazy as they pretend not to be.

But instead of taking that introspective leap inside of ourselves to fix those machinations, those broken fucking cogs that keep us spinning in the same cycles, we instead choose to break others down. Never admitting our faults but constantly shedding light on others. In some sick pursuit to make yourself better (It still baffles me how quick people are to point at a flaw, especially when the accuser is flawed himself). And at the end of it all, we hold ourselves in no high regard. We rationalize ourselves into complacency and let ourselves go in a variety of methods. Just to validate that what we want isn’t something we deserve. Cheating ourselves out of what we truly desire and substituting it for something cheap and superficial. Parading in pointless theatrics. Calling every excuse we can to play.

This is the modern human condition. The bitter to all my sweet. The weight I carry. Maybe it’s just me. My fucking compulsion for honesty and my self-deprecating perceptions. But I sincerly doubt that I am alone in fighting against this.

My digression as always serves some sort of purpose. It’s our nature that darkens those bright days we yearn for. I don’t think we were designed to be this way. I hear of towns where people treat strangers as warmly as they do family. Where you can walk down a street at two in the morning and come home and leave your doors unlocked…

The trick today is holding on to your faith in humanity. Instilling that same faith in other people? That’s a miracle. That’s magic.

I think somewhere along the way we lost sight of what mattered. The love we hold in such high regard is so often quickly tossed aside for moment to indulge in the above mentioned conditioned responses. And have we not been conditioned? To always be the louder voice? To always seek to be right? To think we are the center of all other’s universes? I myself get so caught up in my own storms that I forget to feel the rain. I forget how I am supposed to be, how I believe I should be, and I lose myself to my own temperaments. I withdraw into my self, but not before pushing everyone away. My words escape me in the heat of it all. They echo off the walls. Bouncing back and forth between the ears they were meant for and my ever waning conscience.

No one ever sat me down and said, “Ian, this is love.” Growing up I just had these ideas and elementary theories based off what was preached to me or what I saw on a silver screen. Scripture and bodies of fiction. I just didn’t have the proper example most children “should” have. But, true to my nature, I am venturing out, outside of my safe and comfortable life, to find my own meaning of the word. And it has taken me two decades to even begin to understand what “Love” is.

But I am finally beginning to. And when I do glimpse it, when a see a father go above and beyond almost tirelessly for his son, or when I see a child’s natural tendency to administer affection purely for the sake of giving it and not conditioned to expect something in return, when I see friends just letting go and enjoying each other’s company wholeheartedly, when I see a man or woman fight against their own selves to be a better person for the people they love, when I see someone giving when it’s uncomfortable, going out of their way to just help someone, when people can just shed all the weight they carry and can just share in happiness, that’s when I know that this is what it’s all about. That is when I know; this is love.

And I call out our nature as creatures of self-centeredness. I call out everything because I don’t think people understand. Or maybe they don’t even want to. It’s so much easier to look the other way. Rationalize yourself out of every uncomfortable position. But to make that choice to want to understand, to fight against the darker natures of how we have come to reflect our emotions, that’s strength. And with that choice cemented and laid as a foundation for our pillars of happiness I know life can be so much better than this.

I am no stranger to life’s cruelties. Simply striving to be happy does not shield you from the tragedies you seek to avoid. Events will transpire outside of your routines. Your equilibrium will be tested. But a man is not defined by the events that transpire in his life. He is defined by how he chooses to greet adversity. Life can and will be unkind. Knowing this, why not be kind in spite of it?

Our memories, our lives, our hopes and dreams; are nothing but wells, but we choose what we fill it with. You can fill it with these perfect days. Even your pursuit of them will suffice. To dwell on them in fond remembrance when life is unkind. To remind you that time and again you made it through your storms and felt the sunshine again. Life is for the living. And we all can decide which role to play. You can be the architect of a dream, the author of a falling tear, or the painter of someone’s smile…

And damn it, I just want to see you smile.

– HOWl