I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time.
This is Leonard Cohen speaking, but it could be me.
This morning we drove along the shady west side of the hills. The snow had fallen, melted, frozen again, and was softening in the morning’s bright sun.
Each blade of grass and a filigree of twigs were coated in white, stitched with beads of light. Everything glistened and shimmered.
As we drove, thoughts and feelings drifted through me like shoals of fish. Occasional questions like, are we doing the right thing with our lives? Where will we get a nice breakfast? The usual. When I remembered to, I took in the beauty like bread soaking in milk.
There is an extraordinary relief, for me, in acknowledging that for much of the time I am mostly in the dark.
When I read Cohen’s quote (below) I also feel amused. I feel solidarity with him, for admitting to such depths of foolishness. I feel comforted.
I feel the truth of what Terrance Keenan wrote. “I was not alone. No one is alone. This is the first understanding.”
As I type, this winter afternoon with the gas fire blazing and with two cats draped across the sofa, I’m listening to Cohen sing. You can listen too, here. The flames are still licking at the air with their tangerine tips. The kettle is calling me to fill it.
“I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. There’s a certain humor in realizing that. I can never figure out the kind of tie to put on in the morning. I don’t have any strategy or plan to get through the day. It is literally a problem for me to decide which side of the bed to get out on. These are staggering problems. I remember talking to this Trappist monk in a monastery. He’s been there twelve years. A pretty severe regime. I expressed my admiration for him and he said ‘Leonard, I’ve been here twelve years and every morning, I have to decide whether I’m going to stay or not.’ I knew exactly what he was talking about.”
‘This Freedom’ by Martin Gommel via Creative Commons, with gratitude.