Monday, February 11, 2013


"Snow, Snow, and More Snow", oil, by Rene PleinAir
         This morning, because I carelessly washed my jeans with my wallet in the back pocket, I have set out the wallet’s contents across the dining room table to dry, and it’s caused me to wonder if something similar should be done with my whole life. As I’m typing this at the table, I see before me the special cards and ID’s that say a little something about my life, but where’s the rest of my life? What if it were possible to spread out all of my life on a table and then sit back and study it? What if, instead of licenses and cash, the more transcendent aspects of my life were here in front of me, laid out and looking at me, making themselves as clear as the credit cards on the table? Of course, the table would have to be huge to hold all the wonderful items in the “wallet” of my life. There before me would be my wife, my family, my friends, my students, and the other multitudes who have helped make my life an inestimable story of windfalls and gladness. But there would also be the lesser and less-noticed aspects of my life, like the layer of snow that’s lying in a lovely way across our town today, or like the soothing sound of the furnace that just came on in the cellar. On this endless table would be the talk of kind people who have cared for me, plus the smiles that have shaken out my spirits in times of sorrow, plus the kind glances that have given me, over and over again, the gift of encouragement. The table would be big enough to hold even the smallest and most disregarded items in my life -- an orange in a brown bowl in our kitchen, the ice that shines these days on our front steps, the white sky I see in the distance as I type, the look of lamplight on the golden table cloth beneath my laptop, the little hairs on my hands in the lamplight, the silvery shine of the laptop.  All of this, and all of the rest of the vast life I’ve been lucky to live, would be laid out in an orderly way on this endless table, like the cards and cash from my wet wallet. It would be a wonder to sit back and study it all – to let the specialness of one life lived for 71 high-class years become real and clear before my eyes. 

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