There’s often a bravado to my words,
expressing what I wish I felt,
instead of what I feel.
Raised during that brief, isolated, and unrepeatable
slice of history when comfort and convenience
slipped, unnoticed, into the collective mind
masquerading as, “certain inalienable rights,”
the child within my mind remains ill-suited
to the true pleasures of Life.
I enjoy my nourishing food while he glances
nervously around, wondering if it will be there tomorrow.
I walk delighted with my nose to the wind while he wonders
if it will snow, and if it does,
what he will do.
I watch the snow spiral down in beauty while he worries
about being snowed in and what he will do
if the car won’t start.
(Not that he has places to go, but you never know…)
I chop wood and walk the mountain trails while he frets
about how tired he may get
and shouldn’t I take better care
of this aging body, “not as young as it used to be.”
I bask in the warmth of the heater at my feet while he thinks,
“the power may go off at any moment,
then what will we do? I need the light and heat.”
(Why do you think I chop the wood
and keep the oil lamps filled?)
If you read my words you may see a contented man,
but notice also please the child inside
who lives a tenuous frightened life.
I can’t change him. Lord knows I’ve tried.
Best I can do is love him, accept him,
and relieve him of the need to run my life.
Rest, child, I’ll handle this.
(When my inner child becomes too active, I sometimes read John Muir or Thoreau. They help me, “get a grip.” When worried about the temporary inconveniences I benefit from reading Muir’s essay, Snow Storm on Mount Shasta.)