I’ve written often of the cadence of life, the rhythm of essentially every aspect of our time here on earth. Perhaps it is not always obvious or apparent – it may force you to pay closer attention to notice it and that is often for the good. The thing is though, we rarely take the time or opportunity to look. While I don’t wish to generalize, I think many of us associate the concept of rhythm with absolutes: ebb and flow of the tide, coming and going of the seasons, hot and cold, light and dark…sort of a digital on/off one or the other type of rhythm, and while that is oft times true it is the macro view – the high level view.
The reality is that life’s rhythms are almost always more analog, consisting of discrete degrees, varying shades; they are blends of the poles, the extremes. Everything is a amalgam. Think of color, of how they combine and blend together to make new colors and tones such as how blue and yellow make green. In fact, what are the polar colors if not white and black? And what is white but the blending of all the colors and black but the absence of color? Think of your shower or bath water; hot or cold? Likely a blend of both isn’t it?
Even joy and sorrow blend, and when they do, we get life. Think about it dear reader, our lives are defined by neither happiness or grief but they certainly play a huge part in it. And when the highest high comes, we cling to it and embrace it; we take mental pictures in an attempt to hold that moment forever. And when the lowest moments crash into our life, we wail and get angry and desperately try to escape its dark shadow. And in the end, after our time here, the highs and low will have blended together to create a lifetime. They’ll have balanced our life. Not in the sense that the good equaled the bad, the joys balanced the sorrows; it is not the witch and the duck scale of balance. (Probably an obscure reference to many – a “balance” scene Monty Python and The Holy Grail – 1) offered because I love Monty Python and 2) to honor the recent passing of Terry Jones.)
Much the same with time; time blends into moments, scenes, and into a rhythm. For most all of my adult life, that rhythm was all about working – getting up, going to work, working, and going home to prepare to do it all again. Money was tight for many years for me and I fiercely fought for every minute of overtime I could find in order to add a little extra to my wallet. I would work five days a week, but when they needed more and offered six or seven days a week, I was first in line. And I worked eight hours a day every day, but when they needed more hours worked in the day, I was first in line. So much of my personal “blend” those years was all about work. It didn’t define my life by any means, but it dominated those years. I worked and now I don’t.
The time in my life is still a blend, but of other things. And it’s funny, my last few years of work days were a blend but of issues, people problems, growth, training, budget, and that sort of thing and there were regular scheduled meetings to discuss each one of them – a rhythm. But it was a myriad of different things. Now all those things are gone and are replaced with almost nothing of any real significance. Weekends are all about my grandkids; were when I worked and still are. But the weekdays are essentially “open”. It was different in the warmer weather: hiking, wood cutting and splitting, and yardwork eagerly gobbled up most all my free time, interspersed with grocery shopping and similar mundane chores of life. But now steeped in the cold of January (on any other winter I would have added an adjective such as bitter or frigid to better accentuate the cold, but not so much this year as it has only been tolerably cold – so far) I have little to do outdoors so there are some gaping holes left.
Don’t get me wrong – I worked my ass off for most of my entire life and I feel entitled to being able to park my butt in a big soft chair and watch movies and play on my computer – I earned that. And no better time to do so than January. But sitting is not a rhythm and is not a blend and is not good for a human. I’ve painted one room and have the next squarely in my sights, so I am trying! And there are plenty of other of home projects waiting….once again, a blend.
Of course, when you really put your noodle to it, even blending has a blend: there is a macro level and a micro level. There is the hourly blend and the lifelong blend, and every gradient imaginable in between. And what else but a blend are we? Atoms, molecules, genes, memories, and experiences? (If you haven’t, please read The Sands of Time). We are nothing if not a blend of our past. And as much as some folks loathe the notion, we are little more than a blend of our parents and their forefathers, of our life moments – conversations, interactions, and shared history – with friends, family, and others met along the path. We are mom’s eyes and dad’s dislike for spicy food; we are our 5th grade teacher’s views on “To Kill A Mockingbird”; we are our wrestling coach’s philosophy on perseverance and personal fortitude; we are our boss’s view attitude on work ethic. We are a blend of nights skating on a pond in the woods in the moonlight; of a hot sun balancing the cold ocean water at the beach; of the soft green grass cushioning our head as we laid upon watching the clouds drift past in the brilliant blue sky. We are all these moments magically blended together and transformed into the unique person we are thanks to our personal ideas, beliefs, principles, and ethics that season the blend within us.