A short while back I had a conversation with a friend about dreams vs. reality...the limitless sky vs. gravity's hold on everything, eventually pulling all that we know back to earth.
I confess that I'm a hopeless romantic. What I wonder is: does the hopeless trump the romantic or does the romantic trump the hopeless? I want everything...there, I said it; I want everything good...for everyone. Now I can either give up trying, submit to the inevitable power of gravity, or continue to believe that somehow, someway in this crazy place we call Earth that it can work out.
Why can't I have it all? Why can't everyone have it all? It may seem absurd to even pose the question...and maybe I'm just not smart enough or wise enough to accept the truth - when I jump from the plane, the sky will not catch me and protect me from gravity's hold...falling, falling, falling...Not a scientific study by any means but I would say that almost everyone I know can search their past or present and find events or seasons that have reduced, or sometimes completely eliminated, their ability to enjoy life...to play and run and dance and laugh...
But if that forever defines us, why do we not just give up? I see people - friends, neighbors, strangers - wake up in circumstances owned by the gravity of difficult realities. I see physical, emotional, spiritual diseases ravaging lives like an out of control California fire. Men, women, and even children without shelter...food and safety. Relationships dissolving, dreams dissipating and, in general, entropy (moving from order to disorder) pushing out the heavens that once seemed near enough to touch. Why do we choose to continue?
Here’s one reason I don’t give up: if I give up on the dreams and the visions of my neighbors and friends, and even my enemies, then I have to give up on my dreams and visions as well…give up on the very idea of dreams and hopes and visions. It either matters or it doesn’t; it’s either real or it’s not. And if it’s real, if it matters, then it applies universally.
I’m looking out the second story window from my apartment. I see the damp streets, gently washed from a night’s rain. I see several large and strong and proud evergreens that seem to say, “long after your gone, Mark, we’ll still be here.” Sunday brings a quiet, a peace, an emptying of the crazy basket. Sunday carves out a place for me to see what I don’t usually see.
In the middle of the greenery and the low hanging cloud cover and the tired-looking apartments and the cars and power poles and wires and ravens, there’s one tree – spectacular yellow/orange coloring aligning with the season change. This one tree, sprouting long before I sprouted, grew unhindered toward the sky, for years and years and years…until early this year.
Someone in some important office at some important location determined that more than a third of it, a huge chunk, should be cut away making room for 2” wires of some sort. Some guys in white construction hats reduced this breathtaking ages-old image of beauty reaching toward the heavens to a…a PacMan look-a-like.
Here’s another reason I don’t give up. Several months later I’m sitting on my sofa writing this note and staring at the tree. From what I can tell, the butchering of the tree’s appendages deterred its dreams and visions in no way whatsoever. Bizarre looking? Yes. Deformed? Yes. Deterred? Nope…hopes and dreams and visions intact, it just stretches onward and upward like its rhetorically asking, “I’m a tree; what else would I do?”
“waka, waka, waka…”
It'll never get old.
1 week ago