No more pipe dreams: a sketch in words

There was almost a gentleness to knowing the balance of his life had come down to nothing but the words he wrote on a page. Nothing, more or less, save, of course, for the blessedly endless supply of books to read. Such was his love of reading that he knew, in the end, if he was aware of its arrival, a deep ache-sadness at not having read all he’d wanted to read would be present.

Not sad, so much, this truth. So many around him seemingly spinning in place or out of control (held up to the light at the right angle this could indeed be redundant) in their misery. The chase for the material, gullible minds digesting to the point of blind and foolish faith that wealth meant joy and happiness. In short, pipe dreams.

Leaning back in his chair with a cup of tea, a brief and admittedly cursory self-examination led him to conclude he was free of pipe dreams.

No more pipe dreams. Reality for me, he thought.

A lift from Walt Whitman

“Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.”


It was the first line in this excerpt from Walt Whitman’s SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD that helped me reconnect with what is true about me and about each and every one of us. Simply being who we are, the fact that we are here, is, in and of itself, good-fortune, and deserved good fortune at that. That we are alive is in itself what gives us value and makes us worthy of the seemingly endless joys and adventures life has to offer.  Life happens to us whether we like it or not so along with the joys and adventures there are, of course, the wounds. Life and Utopia are not synonyms. They never will be. Wisdom applied accurately precluded the wounds from defining us.

Like many others (I am not unique),  I’ve tended, at times, to experience the presence or absence of others in my life as indicators of my value, underpinnings of my purpose. I am, of course, wrong on both counts. For the most part I am very clear on this, but life, as I suspect you already know, wears us down at times, exhausts us, and, in doing so, we lose track of  some basic and pivotal tenants.  One of them being that each of us is our own good-fortune. Another is this, if one stays open and receptive to the all of life, there will be moments, experiences, discoveries, that will, you can be sure, lift you and remind you of the miracle that is you.  Mr. Whitman just did that for me with his words, perhaps he will do the same for you. If not, there is ample reason to believe something or someone will.

Keep the faith, never give up, the world is a far better place because you, good-fortune, are here.