In case you don’t know and you’re into
useless information, I was tying my shoe the other day and suddenly the aglet popped
off. What’s an aglet you say? It’s that tiny little plastic sheath at the end
of the shoelace that prevents the string from fraying. Seems insignificant,
doesn’t it? Some people may not even notice. But no. Aglets mean much. There’s
no way to get that miniature contraption back onto a shoelace. Without the
aglet, a shoelace has only so much time left.
It may seem ridiculous to some that this
event could even be categorized as an event; one couldn’t be blamed for mentioning
the whole thing in parentheses. I understand that. But for a tiny moment, at my
backdoor one morning before work, the whole experience felt like the proverbial
straw that broke the camel’s back. Why? Because I don’t need another reminder
of how fleeting things are; I know I don’t know how much time I have left. No
With the morning sun streaming in on a
windy autumn day just before the workday begins, it’s strange to think about
the end of something. Sunrises shouldn’t be like that. Nor sunsets. Yet
sometimes that idea creeps into my heart like those autumn leaves rush in
before I can close the door at the end of day in my vain attempt to keep change
on the other side of the door. Sigh.
And yet, my string
remains mostly unfrayed. It may not be the same as it once was but so far, something
is holding it together. It suffices. My shoes still walk me where I need to go
every day. So far. That little aglet is teaching me that sometimes there’s no
correcting what went wrong; we just have to tie our shoes and keep going. Make
do with unfairness. Make do with time, whatever that means. Make do.
Do you ever get the feeling kids look
at us adults like we’re nuts? Lately, I do.
I’m not sure who said this
recently but it stuck with me: “little kids must wonder why we don’t have more
toys.” Think about that. For a little kid it must seem like we have all the
power, all the money, all the freedom to do whatever we want and yet, unless we
adults have more money than Oprah, we don’t go buck wild.
Instead, we save. And of course we
do. I believe in saving because it makes me feel secure and prepared. I guess
that’s why I very rarely buy things I don’t need. This isn’t bragging. I’ve
made my share of mistakes with poor differentiation between wants and needs.
Anyone want to buy my film projector? Anyone? I didn’t think so. Anyway, spending
money frivolously makes me anxious. Sadly, being an adult is so darn expensive.
But you know what I need? Not
want, but NEED? I need an Argo. That’s right. I need an amphibious all-terrain
vehicle. I also need all-season, all-terrain tracks for my spanky new Argo.
This means I can drive it in sand, mud, snow, dirt and especially for this: like
a maniac, I want to casually drive that sucker down a hill right into a giant
swamp while my passengers gasp. And then float, float, float to the other side
and do it all over again.
Why do I need this? Why not? It just sounds like pure fun. Think about
it. Think about what your face looks like when it’s having pure fun. When was
the last time your face looked like that? My face looked like that about two
months ago when I went fishing every morning and every evening for about four
days. No kid ever goes two months without a face like that. Kids understand the
importance of pure fun. That reminds me. I need a boat too.
Many know that famous poem by William Carlos Williams:
much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white
Impossible not to visualize right?
This poem's a photograph frozen
in time. It’s also a waving flag tribute to how powerfully simple poetry can be.
I’ve sometimes wondered if it has no other meaning than to demonstrate how purposeful
word-choice loves nothing better than to waltz an image around the dance-floor
for all to ogle at.
But some say, “So what?” People criticize this poem; they
question its point. I guess I can’t blame critics for dismissing an imagery
feast. Why not eat the feast instead of just stare at its beauty? And that’s
fine. People see what they see, enjoy what they enjoy, appreciate what they
I’ve known and kept this poem in my thoughts like a note
in my wallet for many years. It just stuck with me. Those words bubble up sometimes
when I encounter a strong visual, maybe while reading or watching a film or in
the everyday actions of all the people around me. I think the heart of this
poem isn’t really the image though. It’s the first four words: so much depends upon.”
Upon what? Upon who? Why so much?
Picture this simple description for example: instead of
loading their patient into the ambulance, two EMTs in a hospital parking lot talk
with him for fifteen minutes. No big deal right? From a distance, would most
people even notice? But for someone, so much depends upon that act, that opportunity, that momentary freedom from the weight of the world. Just for a little while, just for fifteen minutes in the fresh air among the tall
trees on a warm day in late summer thanks to the kindness of strangers. To
someone, so much can depend on that. So much.