Just. One. Day.
Look to this day
for it is life
the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
the realities and truths of existence
the joy of growth
the splendor of action
the glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived
makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.
~ Attributed to Kalidasa, a 4th or 5th Century East Indian poet
My nana—who was a writer and poet—loved this poem. I remember copying it into my journal when I was, perhaps, 14.
The Very Life of Life.
It’s easy to forget that there are no guarantees we will be here tomorrow or next week or next year. Two of my closest friends are in treatment for cancer. Another friend’s husband is, as well. People get sick. Some commit suicide out of a pervasive sense of devastation that never lifts.
A quick glance at the headlines yields enough despair to last me a lifetime. Tornadoes, fires, floods. A firefighter hanging on in the burn unit of his local hospital after falling through the roof of a warehouse engulfed in flames. His colleagues got him out, but I don’t believe when he got up that morning, that he ever imagined how his day would unfold.
We’re All Day-trippers.
We’re all here on a one-day-pass, in lots of ways. We open up a new day each morning; however, if we’re awake, we realize there’s never an endless supply. There’s always the chance that the sand in the hourglass will run down, and we’ll land somewhere new with nothing but our tattered hearts and a few traces of the memories we made.
Old Friends. Good Friends.
My friend, Anne Marie, is in town. She flew in late last night; she flies to Los Angeles on Monday. We’ve got a couple of days to catch up, to fill in the empty space in our lives with the latest and greatest adventures we’ve had, respectively. Every few years in a great burst of energy, I land in her spare room, or she lands in mine. And the funny thing is, no matter how long has passed, the conversation starts up almost mid-sentence where it last left off. We grab a coffee and we gab. We dream and, sometimes, we despair. We talk about what’s working and who we’ve missed and how we’ve changed.
Have Adventures. Take Chances. Eat Your Fill. Now.
I am always encouraged by this dance between us—this meeting and parting—across the years.
And this morning, while she’s out walking with my mother, taking in her first morning in the desert, I am here dawdling over coffee, sharpening my pencils, wondering what the day will bring. We can do nothing today, and it will feel like everything, if we scoop up the hours with passion, with generosity, with the realization that each minute we have will never come again.
As I get older, I feel the pulse of the day more strongly. The birdsong is sweeter. The dog on my lap, more precious.
As I get older, I realize there is no ordinary day. Every single one is the ‘trip of a lifetime.’
Damn. Let’s remember that.
Let’s make each one count.