Thursday, January 22, 2015


In the end, the years are like sand. They have mass, they have weight, they have heft - but you cannot hold onto them. They pour through your fingers. And they extinguish. The fire that burned more brightly than a thousand suns and with a wrathful, intolerable heat - the years extinguished it. Sure, I can be annoyed, I can be irritated. But the anger has been buried, and it does not rekindle as it once did.

Of course, I wanted this. Anger is a sign that the world has trespassed against you, and I understand that the world owes me nothing - after all, it was here first - so what call do I have to be angry at its vagaries? And I know that anger changes nothing - that I can rage and storm with all the fury that I can muster and it will make no difference. And people have their own lives to lead and the way they lead those lives is not for me to say. They, too, owe me nothing. So of what use is anger?

But when I dig my fingers through the sand, and find cold soot and ashes there, I miss it. I miss the passion and the life and the energy - despite the burns and the scars that are all it has ever left me to show for its existence. When you take the fire into yourself it is a light that blinds and a heat that sears, but still I wish that I could gather it in and see and feel nothing else. Because things are always better in memory than they are in life, I remember the light and the heat as if they were friends rather than tormenters. It is wishful thinking, born of the idea that THIS time, I will master anger, rather than it mastering me. But in reality I know that it is nothing more than a wistful nostalgia for the clarity of being mastered. Because for all its faults, it somehow felt alive. It felt free and unburdened. And there was no sand.

But now it is all sand. And the sand has extinguished the flames that I never learned to master. And it feels gray and pallid and dead, but that is because I haven't yet given up trying to have it both ways. I haven't quite given up on wanting to have the fire rage around me, yet not be burned. Experience has yet to extinguish the last vestiges of wistfulness and a longing for youth and of the illusion that I was more alive then than I am now. Anger in youth is not better than calm in age. It is simply different. Fire is not better than sand. Only more familiar when misremembered. If sand is what I have then sand is what I will use. I may mourn the anger, but I know why I smothered it. The world is only as chill and dark as I make it out to be. I can warm and light it without recourse to the easy way out of emotional incandescence. I need only choose. We must all chose, and with that comes the specter or making the wrong choice. Stepping up and taking ownership, rather than letting the fire burn where and what it would, means not having anyone else to blame. Which means learning not to blame.

In the end, ownership is like the years. It has mass, it has weight, it has heft - but you cannot hold on to it. And taking ownership of oneself extinguishes the fire of anger and the other things that we allow to master us. But because it has mass, weight and heft, one can build with it. Like sand, however, ownership requires work to make it strong.

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