The Intersection

Lacking, as I do (see yesterday’s post!) any real sense of direction, physically or otherwise, in my life’s journey, I kind of live it in the middle of the intersection. You know, when the traffic slows down and the smog clears, it’s kind of exciting and always interesting here at the crossroads.digitally doctored photo

There are not only all of the events and incidents that brought me to the place where I stand at any given moment, but so much more that enriches life in the intersection. All of the peripheral things that I didn’t do—yet, anyway—lie somewhere nearby, should I change course or take notice and choose to move accordingly. There are all of the other people who come and go up and down the same roads and walkways, and there are all of those who cross my path at any given intersection, and all of their lives and adventures are influences on my own travel, even on my moments of standing absolutely still there.

And then I move on, often without any greater sense of direction than before, but also, often enough, with an optimistic sense that I will soon find myself having yet another unexpected, very unplanned trip through yet another unknown intersection.

Signs of Things to Come

I’m so far from being clairvoyant that one could hardly accuse me of even knowing what’s happening right in front of me. I’m not even all that hot at figuring out my own history, let alone any that’s larger than me or mine. I’m just plain not very observant.

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Even familiar places can lead me astray.

I do have an interested and curious eye for colorful details, don’t get me wrong. Mostly, I’m intrigued by the arcane and eccentric, so it’s inherently unlikely that what catches my attention is useful, meaningful or significant. The reality of my frivolous and shallow frame of mind is that it is easily filled up with trivia and obscure oddities.

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If you walk a mile in *my* shoes, you just might get really, really lost.

So forgive me if I’m clueless about what is in my future, or anyone else’s. I can barely find my way from one end of my own house to the other without a map, and I sure as heck don’t have better skills for figuring out how to get from one point in my own history to the next, let alone the history of the larger world. Great reason for me to avoid messing around in history and just enjoy the smaller victories over my little reality. I mean, here I am in the den and I found my way here from the garage when we got home. And I enjoyed all sorts of details along the way, signs and all. See you around!

Janus, for Good or Ill

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In every one of us there may be a little reflection of the god Janus . . .

Humans are not the only animals that can look both forward and back. But we’re the ones that choose to recognize this trait with a certain reverence and, particularly, to think we ought to make some use of it. We’re undoubtedly the only ones that impute a moral value to one or the other, depending not only on whichever we personally prefer but on what we think can benefit us or others.

We can spend our time and energies on studying, learning from, or even dwelling in the past. We can devote our hopes and plans to the ideation of what lies ahead as scientists, fortune tellers, scam artists or futurists of any sort from literary to application development. And there are certainly those among us who for whatever their religious, philosophical or preferential reasons are dedicated to keeping attention focused on the present time.

All of these approaches have their uses, to be sure. But I like to think that there’s room for a balanced use of this knowledge, these skills. In any time, there is much for us to learn. The successes and failures of the past inform present action, but keeping eyes on present action demands enough concentration that the revisiting of historical notes had best be done while not in the very act of the performance. Likewise, learning to predict, extrapolate and imagine possible improvements and variant outcomes is often the richest trove of possible new successes, but again, dreaming of these accomplishments-yet-to-come is only useful if we aren’t so immersed in them that we can’t complete the steps of today necessary to position us for the future.

We may not be the only beasts able to remember or to aspire, and are clearly not the only ones able to be completely present in the moment. But if we’re the only ones that truly care about such capabilities, why then, let us expend what effort and wisdom we’re able and see how well we can integrate the three. Only then, I suspect, will any of us ever live the fullest lives for which our many possible directions can set our courses.digital artwork