Searching, Finding, Living (On My 70th Birthday)…

Quotes and Notes #307, September 7

It's a pretty place, It is alluring, but be careful. Photo by Bill Land

It’s a pretty place, It is alluring, but be careful. Photo by Bill Land

Today, on my 70th birthday, instead of a quote I am going to share an original writing about my progress in life. It contains vivid mental pictures.

Escape
6 years old
When I was very young
My mother pointed and said
“Don’t go over there.”
I wondered why.

16 years old
For years, I looked in that direction
And wondered what was “over there.”
I thought about “over there” a lot
And I asked myself, “I wonder what would happen if…”

26 years old
“Over there” became an obsession
I kept looking in that direction, not moving.
Then, one day I turned and began to drift
Slowly, fearfully, and carefully.

36 years old
I went as far as I could
There was a precipice and a cliff
I looked over the brink and saw…
Nothing—no bottom as far as I could see.

46 years old
I had visited the brink so many times.
I was obsessed with it.
I spent most of my time at the brink
Neglecting work, friends, and family.

56 years old
I was dizzy. I stepped over the edge
I slowly floated down toward the unseen bottom
The descent was slow at first and then faster and faster
And faster and faster
With no bottom in sight, I fell and fell,
Without realizing that I was falling.

I approached the bottom and the bottom of the bottom
Was a mirror. I fell rapidly toward it and gazed into it
And I saw myself
I saw myself as someone I did not wish to be.

And at that moment, I found that I had wings
And that I could spread the wings and stop my fall
I realized that I could escape the obscure ending.
And I landed next to a wall of rock
That ascended farther than I could see.

66 years old
I had climbed the rock wall for years.
Sometimes I made good progress
Sometimes the going got rather difficult,
Sometimes the going was fun and easy.
At a place almost to the top, I almost fell
Into what would have been a certain ending.

I found the top of the rock wall
And climbed carefully to the level ground
At the other side of the precipice.
I walked off happily, finding love and life.

70 years old
That was truly an adventure
I came close, so close to the bottom
Then I came close, so close to the top.
Everything is going to be all right.

Give someone a smile on my Birthday
John P. Schulz—“Sweetie Drives on Chemo Days.”

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