LAbri @ Massanutten, January 6, 2002
look out my study windows on winter at last. The good earth is mantled in white
as it was meant to be on this cold January day. I have the blessed reprieve of
silence; only the bearable whir of my heat pump fan and the click of my pellet stove invade my hearing. No television, no stereo, no human voices to interrupt my inner sanctum.
Such times are rare and precious and gloriously satisfying and sorely needed in my noisy world, so I savor these moments
This morning unmistakable flashes of white gave
them away -- five graceful does were scampering in the deep woods back of the chalet, their white tails signaling their presence. This was before it began to snow; intuitively, they must have known the snow was on
its way. How easily it would have been for me to have missed them, but Providence
ordained that I should set eyes on them, a reminder of how often their kin had appeared in the back meadow at Arbreux, and
once more the sober majesty and wonder of where I live and the blessing of life itself.
Ive made only one New Years resolution: to redeem the timeto find productive things to keep active my hands, my mind, my heartmy
soul. Thoreau at Walden Pond wisely concluded that the saddest commentary
on life was to come to the end of it realizing that one has never really lived.
Theres a marvelous line from Auntie Mame: Life is a banquet and most
damned fools are starving to death. Leo Buscaglia in one of his lectures
told about a severe earthquake in Los Angeles when his living room fell in and the fireplace collapsed: Suddenly it taught us the value of things; it showed us that things were stupid, that all we had was us. I walked out of the house with everything falling around me. It was just dawn and there was a streak of light coming over the sky.
I have a great big flowering peach in the back yard. Well, there it was,
flowering its head off. And all of sudden, in a split second it occurred to me: the beautiful world is going on, with or without you.You are all you have. Therefore, make yourself the most beautiful, tender, wonderful, fantastic person in
the worldYou can only give away what you have, and so you damned well better work at getting something. You want to be the most educated, the most brilliant, the most exciting, the most versatile, the most creative
individual in the world, because then you can give it away; and the only reason you have anything is to give it away.
Leo Rosten gives me more inspiration for this new year: In some way, however, small and secret, each of us is a little madEveryone is lonely at bottom and cries
to be understood; but we can never entirely understand someone else, and each
of us remains part stranger even to those who love usYou can understand people better if you look at them no matter how old
or impressive they may beas if they were children. For most of us never mature;
we simply grow taller. Happiness comes only when we push our brains, and hearts to the farthest reaches of which
we are capableThe purpose of life is to matter to count, to stand for something, to have it make some difference that we lived