Always Remember To Marvel

 Recently, I stumbled upon a poem that struck me.  Technically, it isn’t quite a poem, but just a note, jotted beside a sketch in a book of poems my mother gave me, years ago.  Now, the book—Leonard Cohen’s, The Book of Longing—is tattered.  Its pages are dog-eared and inked with my own musings, and the note my mom wrote me on the backside of the front cover has long since faded. 

I haven’t actually looked at the book in a long while, but recently, while digging through old notebooks of mine, through letters and postcards friends had sent me, I found it.  And inside, letters I had written to myself, tucked away in the margins alongside sketches of barely legible poems I had written for people I then loved, and now no longer know.  I scrawled the bones of those poems with the intention of later completing and sharing them, but I never did.  And there they were: my half-thoughts.  My unfinished creations and unfulfilled loves.  Frozen almost, before my eyes, and what a gift it was! To rediscover so palpably that I had loved.

I thought, then, after coming to know again these forgotten pieces of myself, of all that I hope to accomplish in this little life of mine.  Suddenly, I was overcome with a strangely gorgeous sense of dejection.  Dejection for the fact of the passage of my own life, and joy at what a life it has been.

Flipping the page I had there been lingering upon, I found this:

“Life is a drug that stops working”

To be honest, it floored me.  I thought again of my goals, only now my wondering was colored by the soft light of this oddly simple truth.  One day, I won’t wake up.  I sat quietly and repeated that to myself, as if it were a mantra.  One day I won’t wake up.  One day, suddenly—poof—no more life.  I wondered then, at my hesitancy, my unbelievable ability to be distracted and to waste time. If tomorrow I won’t be able practice the guitar, or write a poem, or hug my dog, then why do I—why do we each of us—not wake up today mad for these beautiful things?  Why do we not leap fearless from bed in the morning and sprint madly, in the few moments of day that are left to us, toward the self we want to be?  Toward all that which gives us meaning amidst the drivel and business of life?  One day, I’ll be gone to the black walnut tree in my front yard, and the stars will no longer be mine to marvel upon.  So marvel.  Marvel because today, the drug is still working.  Marvel, because today.