Posted by: highmountainmuse | May 27, 2009

Interesting times

Reflections in the frog pond

Reflections in the frog pond

A friend writes to share an ancient Chinese expression, at once considered a curse and a proverb: “May you live in interesting times.”

How appropriate to reflect on, for we do now, don’t we?

Interesting times.  Now seems especially interesting, or perhaps, are my eyes just more open as I reach out for support getting through our hard times, and realize there is no one I speak to (or rather, usually write to) that is not experiencing hard times of their own, in one way or another?

Another friend writes, “Everyone has their ‘situation’ to deal with.” And this goes beyond the realm of the difficult economy and job situation.  Is no one unaffected by some ‘situation’ or another, be it financial, health, marriage, family, neighbors…? No.  She is correct.  We all have our ‘situations’ to deal with, don’t we? Perhaps it is these situations, these challenges, these interesting times, which open our eyes, our minds, our hearts, and at the same time, bring us together?

Even in the most idyllic of worlds, ‘situations’ arise, fester if only within our minds, and follow us throughout our day.  Even here, in this pastoral mountain world where nature and beauty abound, we are not free from ‘situations.’ I have lived in many places, and never seen so closely the anger and hatred, lies and sadness that haunt this land, based on what?  A mother who chose to divide her family as she divides a land she holds more dear than her children?  I don’t know. I am convinced now I will never understand. In a land of magnificence and a pristine environment in which to raise our child, our home, our garden and horses and business, our life; hatred is just a fence away. There are a few ‘situations’ we will never comprehend, we will never be able to fix.  All we can do is walk away.  The land is indifferent.  Our loved ones are not.

Is there no perfection in this world? Do we spend a lifetime seeking what we may not find?

We go through our spells where the world seems magical, perfect and without ‘situations.’  These moments are fleeting, but often last long enough to remind us what we are seeking, what we are working towards. Perhaps like the carrot before our nose. Those moments are ones of true peace and contentment.  We are not longing, not wanting, not seeking; not hurting, not living with pain or fear.  Are these moments random or chance, or visions of what life can be if we learn to control our emotions?  We can not control the world around us, circumstances that affect us.  All we can control is how (and if) we react and feel.  Those things we can control, although I can’t say I know how yet.

Ultimately, we are reminded that life is not about the past. It is about now; a compilation of past experiences, future plans, and present situations. And now is constantly changing. Still, we find ourselves so reluctant!  It is scary.  It is hard.  But it is also exciting, and fresh, and necessary.  Without change, we remain like still water and in time, turn stagnant.

At times, I cling desperately to the past, to a situation which was once so comfortable.  But I see it is no longer there, it is but a memory to grasp on to, and learn to find comfort in the new world around me, in the new day.  Change reminds us of what is really important. Nothing teaches us more than the challenges of change.  Standing still, we know it all.

Change is a vital ingredient to life.  It can be simple and subtle at times.  Or harsh and drastic.  Waves in the sea, fluctuating with the wind, with the weather, with the moon.  We strive to stay afloat.

Evening clouds over the Rio Grande

Evening clouds over the Rio Grande



  1. “Is there no perfection in this world?”

    This reminds me of a story of a Chinese poet who spent a lifetime trying to find the perfect cherry blossom. It was only at the moment of his death that he learned that *every* blossom was perfect…

    May we all learn his lesson more timely than he did!

  2. Oh, Maggie. That is so well said. Thank you.

  3. This speaks right to the heart of where I am now. So much that could be turned on its head, upside down, inside out and plans snagged, tripped up on an economy failing, on years of trying personally to remove myself from wreckage not my making. It asks of me that I find the place inside that can’t be shaken, once again. And once again. And again. I’m tired! But this is strength. Thank you.

  4. Ruth, see Maggie’s story above, too. Personally, that is what I need to focus on. I think it might be a good reminder to you, too.

    I thought you might relate to this. Inspired, as I hope you know, from reading your post.

  5. Gin, you are so right. Everyone has a situation. I don’t know that knowing that ever makes our own situation easier, but it is always nice to know we’re not alone… no matter what it is we’re dealing with. I am constantly challenged to live in the present, without clinging to a safer past or fearing an unknown future.

  6. Life has its ups and downs which are always better than a flatline.

  7. I agree with you, Sandy.
    At times I think it may be nice to avoid the highs and lows, but if my option is living life as that ‘flatline’ as you call it, I think I’d choose the rollercoaster.

  8. Karin, you know what I think does help, though? That sometimes it is better for me to get over my ‘situation’, in order to be there to help someone else get through their ‘situation.’ That helping, reaching out, and if only temporarily getting over my deal, so that I may do something for someone else (like Karen and all the volunteers out there)… that is powerful stuff, you know?

    Perhaps that is how we learn to see the perfection in every cherry blossom…

  9. If there are smodges on my letters its just tears . some of has more on thier plate than the can handle . We just have to move forward .Sometimes its almost more than we can stand . Sometimes its so hard you think about ending it all . You are right life is not of the past but of the future what ever it may be . . You have your mountains . Some of us just have a dream and try to follow it back in time . They say you cant go back but who knows .They also say anything is possable .Jusy keep looking forward . Never look back then you will not know if any thing is gaining on you .Keep our moutain safe and your family close . both two legged and four legged . they will be your guide .times are hard but friends and family will get you through .Even old comp friends that your stories anb poems keep headed in the right direction .we all feel you and your family are part of our extended family and feel your good and bad times .
    my love and thoughts are with
    DON B

  10. Don, No doubt, you have more than your fair share on your plate at this time. You are going through something many of us have not exprienced, and yet, I think we all can relate to. And so, I think at times like this, it is most important that you DO reach out. To share stories of the past, or dreams of the future. To just let it out sometimes or to be distracted to just forget other times. To know you are not alone. You, too, have many people here who care about you, in our own distant way, just through the mysterious lines of computer connection. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Modern pen pals. And as such, true and dear friendships have formed. And hopefully, we can all help each other when each of us might be in need. This may sound like I’m making light of what you’re going through, but with lack of better words, I’d say you take the cake for going through the hardest time right now. I hope we can help you through. Hold on to the past when you need to. Although you can not re-live it, you can love the memories, and be so thankful for all you had. And dream of the future. Perhaps life is a circle, and maybe the future will lead you where the past once allowed you.

  11. Gin, I agree! Reaching out and helping is such a great way to help both ourselves and others.

    And Don – we are all thinking of you and praying for you. And even if you don’t see your mountains right now, to dream of them is better than to not dream at all.

  12. Yes, I can relate to living in a beautiful mountain area, running a guest ranch in a place where I thought that I would live out my days on Earth, and then having to move because of how people were behaving. Tolstoy wrote something along the lines of “how, surrounded by the beauty of nature, can people behave so badly?” and yet they do. I had to abandon a ranch that I had built and a whole lifestyle, and yet the change (not that it was easy) led to a new phase of life, new growth, and a measure of new hope – if not actually to an easy time. It led, through declining to behave as some others were, to saving one’s soul rather than selling it.

    I am thinking of you, knowing what a difficult path you may face. It may be hard adjusting, for people from the mountains do have a different look in their eye to those from the valley and the plain. I think of the mountains most day, with the mixed feelings that they bring. I do hope that the way ahead becomes clear to you.

  13. White Horse,
    Sounds very similar… We must strive to look upon change as the blessing it presents itself to be. I don’t know if the stronger we are, the more challenges in life we are given; or if it is that the more challenges we face, the stronger we become. In either/both cases, we turn to face change with strength, humility, gratitude, compassion and grace.

  14. White Horse,
    Sounds very similar… We must strive to look upon change as the blessing it presents itself to be. I don’t know if the stronger we are, the more challenges in life we are given; or if it is that the more challenges we face, the stronger we become. In either/both cases, we turn to face change with strength, humility, gratitude, compassion and grace.

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