I’ve been going through a lot of my old scribblings over the last few days and found a short little thing I wrote that seemed like nothing at the time. However, reading it now I was surprised to see a lot of similar thoughts to those Robert Service transcribed in his poem “The men who don’t fit in”. Service’s work has quickly become a staple of mine, so it was an odd thing to see similar frames of mind between them. I hope you guys enjoy it, and if not go read Robert Service. I know you’ll enjoy that.
The more we learn, the harder life gets to navigate.
However, wisdom and knowledge are a less like a burden than I used to think.
I created this image of all the information I had ever learned tied
around my waist while I swam the length of a pool.
The rope was long enough to allow moments where the weight would help me.
As I turned at either end of the pool I could pull myself through the water
Until I passed over the burden. Then I had to start tugging it along again.
This was the wrong analogy.
It’s more like a map of an ancient broken maze that I keep seeing new paths through.
They all end up in the same place
but that’s the cruelty of the maze.
It keeps opening new paths as you head towards the destination.
Each path holds something you think you might want.
Or even just a different landscape to see while you walk.
Some can flow through paths making choices as they go,
not bothered by the plans they’d laid for the path before them.
Not me. I am one who succumbs to the wall’s cruelty.
I see paths sprouting up like weeds behind me,
and to the right.
It crushes me, the weight of choice.
I stop and stare and see so many paths I can’t barrel down just one.
I head down the first for a bit, but I’m so curious about what lays down the others.
So I backtrack, and head down a different trail.
Sampling each of them for a while, then realizing some of them have started closing off,
and new one’s have opened.
This is the beauty and danger of living with an interest in all.
You accept that you will never be truly great at anything, only decent at all things,
but you will see more paths than most,
and that will make it all worth it.
You will die with your name unknown to the rest of the world.
No great paintings, no amassing of wealth.
But you will have seen more than they have,
And that is the cruelty of the maze,
but it is a gift to those of us who prize seeing more than the rest.
We wouldn’t trade it, but it’s going to remind us of the things we could trade it for.
It’ll be constant and keep things raw as long as it can by pointing them out to us
The friends that seem put together because they run down one path,
with the veracity and patience of bamboo.
The lovers who crave the stability we detest,
and they grow bored with our inability to sit still long enough to be bored.
Employers, who see something in us we refuse to look at,
for fear it’ll be the last thing we notice.
Towns we love and say to ourselves “I could live here”
but as soon as we visit the next one it wins us over,
it eclipses the memory of any other town we’ve seen.
So we live with the rawness, and salve it with a change in direction
it lasts for a while
But never long enough to heal.
We’d stop moving if it healed.
We find a new path and press the memories to the wall as we walk.
So they open up and we can treat them with the next twist in the maze.