“Is life too short to be taking this shit, or is life too short to be minding it?” – Violet Weingarten
I spent part of the morning walking in the woods, seeking out the quiet reflections on an inky black pond nearby. October makes those reflections particularly brilliant and I wondered at my solitude with the water and foliage. Tourists drive so far to see the colors of fall, when it might be hiding in plain sight just through the woods.
October brings a gift to those who wander outside in New England. To stay inside seems unforgivable for those of us who seek the truth in the palette. Life isn’t meant to be lived in shades of grey, so why must we limit perspective on the world? Yet I found myself inside for most of the afternoon yesterday, in a room with a grey color palette, tackling projects that a family member fighting cancer is unable to tackle.
I was happy to do it. To contribute in whatever way I could. I’ve seen too much of this lately. The C word. The stealer of dreams. What are we to do with it but decide how to live with the options it leaves you? My gift for the patient was my time and a bit of applied skill to fix some lingering problems in the house. Were I able to fix everything.
Sundays in October offer another gift, the gift of sports. The pursuit of athletic excellence in your chosen sport. In New England we have many choices in October: The Head-of-the-Charles regatta, college sports, pre-season Bruins and Celtics, the second month of football with the Patriots, the postseason with the Red Sox, and unique for 2021, the Boston Marathon run in October instead of April. That’s a lot to choose from if you enjoy sports. In my family we enjoy sports.
So I didn’t mind watching the Patriots game out of the corner of my eye while working under the kitchen sink. I didn’t even mind the two trips to the local box store for supplies, because the radio play-by-play guys were better than the national television play-by-play guys. Professional sports are a very nice distraction from the cold reality of managing cancer instead of eliminating it. And the Patriots and Red Sox served up a couple of nice wins when the family needed them. They collectively watched the ebb and flow of the games, focused on something besides the elephant in the room.
Memento Mori. We all must die. But accepting that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight like hell for our alive time while we have it. To sparkle in brilliant vibrancy in the face of the long truth. On a sparkling day of foliage and athletic performance, we celebrated our alive time for the gift that it is.