Sunday, March 17, 2013

More on Lions and Winter

When Mick Jagger first uttered "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" it struck a chord to say the least. He was in fact summarizing the rally cry of all humankind, from time immemorial. Well, for most of us anyway.

Because we choose to survive, and we must take actions to do so. Survival meant thinking, and using those opposable thumbs. But after the basic elements of food and shelter were taken care of, we continued to want more. To be more. To be Other, and to be better. And the lengths we will go to accomplish these lofty goals are as limitless as the imagination.   

Yet no matter how heroic or successful these efforts, a time will come when the cleats must be hung up. The challenge is to recognize this, and identify the precise point where the top of the hill has been reached. That point where the pedaling is no longer for survival. Where one carefully selects the proper length of bungee cord.

Cas Kowalewski became more. He knew when to live. And in the depth of his winter, he surely discovered that within him was an invincible summer*.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth.
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings,
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung 
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
* adapted from a quote by Albert Camus