These are the days…
I had a very special guest meditator this evening. My mother Patti, of 365walks fame. Before that, I joined in on her walk, along with my sister in law who also sat with us. We are calling it our “crossover episode”. There were several things I wanted to do today before I head back to LA tomorrow, so it was already pitch black outside by the time we headed out to walk. We were bundled up pretty good(god I love my sunny california) and armed with an assortment of blinky can’t-miss-me lights, one of which was attached to my mother’s forehead(It’s possible we could make a last minute decision to go spelunking?). Rufus, my parent’s chocolate lab came along and I felt better knowing that if anyone leapt at us from the bushes, we’d have at least a good minute or two head start while rufus licked them to death. It was beautiful and crisp out after having rained all day, smelling clean and fresh like only Seattle can. As we walked we made small talk and I watched Rufus zig zag back and forth, managing to wade through every possible puddle he could find, and almost falling into Greenlake twice.
Greenlake is 10 minutes north of downtown Seattle, and besides being an adorable community centered around a beautiful lake, it is right next to where I attended Blanchet High School. We used to spend countless hours here, grabbing a cup of joe or a slice of pizza at Guido’s, running the lake for PE, or track and volleyball practices. It floors me how fast time has passed. As we walked the lake this evening, I could almost see the ghost of my teenage self… gawky and awkward, uncensored and unaffected, zipping around the lake yapping away with my friends. The lyrics of that Rod Stewart song suddenly popped into my head, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger”…. I wanted to chase after that lingering apparition of my younger self. To wrap my arms around her and whisper to her not to worry, that she is wonderful and lovely, and that she doesn’t have to try so hard. To get her to understand what a gift these days are, that moments with her father and brother won’t always be the way they are now, and that life itself will never be as carefree and full of hope.
The chatter from my two walking companions brought me back to reality. I glanced over at my mom and sister in law, who didn’t seem to have noticed that I had drifted off to a previous century. They were discussing the next several months and all the happenings that this crazy family has planned. It struck me that years from now, I might walk this lake, see THIS version of myself, and want to tell her the same things that I was just envisioning telling my teenage self. It’s all relative isn’t it? My life is not perfect. There are things I wish I could change, and things that I wish wouldn’t. There are things that I wish would progress more quickly, things that I wish would slow down, too much of some things and not enough of others. And yet on a night like tonight, when I walk around the stillness of a dark lake and sit in shared silence with two women whom I love and adore, I know that what I have is all that I need. I know that one day, in the distant future, I will look back on these moments and say, “those were the days”.
One day, I will tell you the story of one of the darkest points in my young life. Today is not the day. But I will share with you a discovery I made back then… a poet. A man, whom to this day, I turn to when I have trouble making sense out of this life. His name is Rainer Maria Rilke. If you have not read his book “Letters to a Young Poet” please, please do not walk, RUN to your nearest book store and get it now. I look back on the day that I read this book as one of the single most influential moments in my life. Tonight, I will leave you with the quote that introduced me to this brilliant mind. It still affects me with the same sense of relief and peace. xx
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”