Monday, January 9, 2023

The Pleasure of Being Nobody

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.” - Thoreau


I fulfilled yesterday’s resolution and was out walking at 6:30 am. Found a walkway parallel to the beach and while many jogged past me checking their statistics on their little watch, I strolled more leisurely and found myself walking over a bridge into my childhood. That sense of youthful innocence where Death has no address or phone number or appointed date on a calendar. Just the promise of a new day, riding in with the rising sun and singing birds and gentle lull of the waves and me being born into it all with them. Not so much affecting the quality of the day with a willful, muscular imposition, but being the day itself.


Senses more alert than the norm, I walked past a small open coffee shop and inhaled the aroma of baked goods and coffee, felt the warmth of the air amidst the slight chilled breeze. Feeling the freedom of no one knowing who I am or what I do or what I’ve done or what I haven’t done, just that “nobody in particular” that I need to remember amidst all the somebodies in particular I strive to be.


Walked like this for a mile or so and then turned around and headed back to the Conference Hotel, where the somebody I’ve become has the great privilege of sharing the joy and pleasure of music, the beauty of teaching children well, the unshakeable faith that every time people gather in a circle like this, the world is refreshed. The details of a long life lived as best as I knew how to do it aiming for my most “elevated and critical hour.” 


Today, Thoreau would be proud. 

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