Things I would like to do before the Future.

Via on Oct 31, 2013

small town christmas norman rockwell

Things I would like to do with you.

My Future is Before Me, But I Have Not Met Her Yet.

When I lose at love, I do not lose love itself—but rather simply one possibility of love. So I pause—I turn from this past love, lost, and commit myself to now—to the hard and worthwhile work of making friends with myself. Then, I pause again—and step forward into the unknown future, with love in my heart.


Read the first, Things I would like to do with you in the Woods.

Read the second, Things I would like to do with you this Evening.

Read the third, Things I would like to Remember about our day in Vermont.

Read the fourth, Things I would like to do with you in Time.

Read the fifth, Things I Would Like to do with You Before I Lose You.

Read the sixth, Things I would like to hear when you are Confused.

Read the seventh, Things I would like to say to you without you Knowing.

Read the eighth, Things I would like to do with you when you visit my Home.

Read the ninth, Things I would like for us to know before we Fall in Love.

Read the tenth, Things I would have Liked to Say to You the Last Time we ever Spoke.

Read the eleventh: Things I would like to do this White Winter without You.

This is the last: “like” Waylon’s page if so inspired, if you’d like to get the book.


“Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.” ~ Robert Frost


I say good bye to our Future, and I turn and look into the old mantle mirror and through myself, and I can not see my Future.

I would like you to know that though I should be sad to have lost us, I was only sad for a few days. I lost a future I did not wish to win.

Rather, I would like to thank you. I am grateful to have loved, a little, again—my heart had gone quiet.

The Future: I know her name. But she is not here, yet. And so I date and date and date and date and date and they date me, and I am alone and alone and alone and alone and alone and alone, furthering this difficult yet satisfying friendship with my own self. I do not know when, or how, or even if she will consent to care for me, but I know her name.

But now it is now, the Summer it is past, and the Spring has not yet come: and so our Past is one, and my Future, she may or may not come.

I would like to close up my warm yellow house and bicycle away with Red dog (in a dog coat, in a trailer, behind). I would like to bicycle calmly, slowly, my breath visible and puffing rhythmically like an old steam train. The roads may be frozen in spots. The trick is to keep the black tires straight, and when I turn, to turn gradually. Red dog can run for awhile, because he likes to run, it’s more fun—but it’s 12 miles out of my Small City and into the Mountain Woods, so he gets as many breaks as he needs in the little bicycle trailer.

I would like to bicycle past pale, cold farms and up into the cold mountains until I get to a half-frozen, noisy black river, and I would like to turn at the red dirt road, dusted white with snow, and open the cold wide gate, and let Red dog off the leash, and together we will climb up into the snowed-in dark green woods.

I would like to open up the cabin.

It is cold, now. It is where we first fell in love.

I would like to spend my first hour moving old dry wood in and chopping new wood, blushing and flushed with sweat, heat and the cold, enjoying deep breaths in and visible air out.

I would like to light the cold fireplace, and make hot tea, and take off my sweaty clothes, and put on my red and black checkered union suit. I would like to spend the night reading the Collected Short Stories beneath many blankets. I would like to begin with The Rich Boy. I would like to not eat: now is a time for retreat, for brief asceticism, for rest, alone.

“My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.” ~ Robert Frost

I would like to cry.

I would like to smile, simultaneously: water plus sunshine equals rainbow. It is, he said, the ideal human emotion: cheerful and heartbroken without self-pity, but with a soft exposed heart full of appreciation, even joy, and tender pain.

You messaged me, and told me I am too much, and you are right: I am too much for us.

For I know I am too much, and that is not too much, so I am not defeated, though I have lost something that it turns out I do not want, for you did not want what I have to offer, which is all of me.

And so I would like to grow this red beard until it curls. But I will shave instead, the cold water and dull blade and rushed hour helping me cut myself: a little blood runs enthusiastically, without pain.

And now you are gone to me.

I would like to think of you, but I see only ghosts in the mirror:

if I am not what you would like you are not what I would like and so I do not need to let go, it is already gone.

But I would like to appreciate our time together—joyful, patience, laughter, listening and sharing—and all of it in a season.

And I would like to thank you.

And I would like to say, as he did, Jolly Good Luck, sweetheart!

And I would like to add, as he did, Thank you for being you, just you.


“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” ~ Robert Frost


And so before turning to future love I honor past love: I honor you. I do not need to let go: time has left us behind.

I would like to turn, and take a dance step forward without you, now: my feet are hesitant, but confident, too. I would like to turn my gaze away from summer and toward winter, away from Vermont and toward Colorado, to the rare fog clinging to our foothills.

And though our future has vanished, I am patient and open minded for future days, or even for a lifetime of alone.

I would like to see what comes to me, and I would like to choose whether to swing at the pitches I see.






And I would like to remember another lover: she who began this longing, who first thawed my low expectations, who first gave me wonder, who first inspired me to write these Things. She has just now returned, alone, from Paradise.

My bed is heavy and set against two windows facing East so that the first golden light pours over me. Before I go to sleep, this first night, I would like to open the window at my head, though it is winter: just a crack, so that when I sleep beneath my many wool blankets I can breathe clean, innocent air. Fresh air allows for space, gives wisdom and blessing to those of us who would guard it, and lends love to those who deserve it.

I would like to stow my bicycle inside and batten down for a month, but this long bicycle ride up into the flood-ripped mountains is a round-trip journey, and I would like to stay only the weekend: the City flickers at me. And so I lean it against the cabin wall, sheltered beneath the porch awning.

Late fall is a golden, blue delight. The cool and cold air pushing against and through my tweed and wool and cotton is a delight. When waking in the cabin, or after snowshoeing, or while writing: drinking water is a delight. I delight in simple things: I am a child, again, once again slowed, captivated for hours by the forest, the light, the snow, the wind, the wood, sounds, in love with the details of this natural world and my human life.

If I would like to cry again, no one will know: I am alone. Besides, I will be in the old bath tub outside: two years ago I set it on a slope, built it up on top of rocks and a fireplace. I have spent evenings in it laughing, hot, looking at the stars, drinking hoppy beer, making love. Now I am alone, and salt tears merge with salt sweat. A recipe for purification: juniper smoke and salt and sweat and hot water and the night stars, moon, and fire, and wood.

My tears remember her full body stretched before me, joy and desire, humor and dance. Looking backward is as if looking at a shadow, or a movie: after awhile, we long for real. And so I look forward but the future is not yet real, but it is pregnant. So I walk mindfully on the rail line of the present moment. In the future we will jump into a waterhole on a hot day, the cool water washing our hair back, blinking wetblur out of our eyes. But now I am alone, crying, without self-pity, with stars reflecting in my tired orange eyes.


“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” ~ Robert Frost


After two days, I would like put on a wool longsleeve shirt and wool long underwear and wool socks and a grandpa cardigan sweater with a high collar and a tweed jacket with leather-braided  buttons and bike shoes and a warm hat and glasses, and I would like to bicycle back down with Red dog to the Small City or Big Town, for I am eager to make trouble.

I am still full of humor and flashing light and moving charm and laughter and power and I will ask one out and walk with her past the old houses; and I will ask two out and lay with her, she will like to lie on her tummy as I hold into her; and I will ask three out, and she will say I have a boyfriend, and I will ask four out, and we will climb and sit on red rocks in the blue wind, but I will wait for she who can look through my eyes. In the meantime, dating is a wonderful waste.

And finally I will one day get to date her, and she is you: and you know it. I would like to find you where I least expect you, and ask her out right away, before the future: I will ask you to your face, with a smile. And though today is dark and cold and I have not dated her yet, I do not feel dark or cold.

I would sometimes like our Future to be here, Now, and you and I would live a life together, planning things, resting, playing. I would like to walk in the cold wet early evening on top of light white snow and wet yellow leaves and you could make me feel all better or I could make you feel all better or we could talk about work or ethics. I would like to never stop trying to get you to laugh. But it is not sunny today—so I must make my own luck.

For now I am alone. Alone is a melodic thing. A sharp thing. A riveting thing. A smooth thing. Alone is a succinct thing worthy of one short sentence. Alone is a chaotic thing worthy of long sentences: sentences that reluctantly end, that ebb and flow, and feint and flourish, and rise and plunge—like lovers too hot for the sheet. Alone, it is perfect for this Fall. And it is Autumn and each morning (I wake beneath yes eight layers of old woolen striped blankets, I counted), each mountain morning.

Good morning, sunshine!

I bellow.

Each morning is bright for the past, cold for the present, pregnant with the future: so many memories forgotten.


“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ~ Robert Frost


The newly fallen golden bright leaves: each one a masterpiece of life, beauty, and loss.

We are back home. In my Big Town.

This is my routine. Red dog and I walk out in the morning and I hang from a tree and do five pull-ups (one more a month) and stretch while he runs about excitedly. I feed him and I meditate and read a Dharma book. I hot tub while reading a business book and brush my teeth. I make tea and eat toasted cinnamon raisin bread—my whole Victorian house smells as if I’m baking. Then I bicycle and cafe and work all day, getting so much done. Things are going well: work is like a bonfire on a beach, patiently built up for eleven years.

And I am ready. Well, ready as I’ll ever be. I am finally for the first time ready to travel; or settle down. I would like to do both.

And I would like to be sad, but I am not: I am only momentarily depressed. And so I would like to sing old happy warrior’s songs:

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone!
In the ranks of death you will find him
His father’s sword he has girded on!
His wild harp slung behind him
Awake! Awake! Is the warrior’s cry
The world, the world deceeeeeives thee…
These songs are sung by the pure and free
They’ll never sound in slavery

…bicycling through tunnels as if I am flying so my sad joy echoes. Bicycling through dry fields and over bumpy trails and wooden bridges and on the shoulders of busy roads, where mindless trucks barrel past me.

I would like to return to our fine romance: the cabin in the woods where I rested into your heart.

When the woodpecker knocks and asks me my age, I say “Halfway to death; Halfway to birth.” And it nods its head.

I would like to take our fort down, and I would like to compost the dead flowers in dry ball jars, and I would like to make another too-big fire when it is dark and I would like to continue to read The Rich Boy, for it turns sad yet proud and noble, but sad and true. And I would like to drink good scotch from a dear friend and I would like to see Red dog curl up close to the fire, and snore.

I would like to return only once, now, for genuine sadness is a blanket to be folded and put away or it turns bitterly into self-pity.

I would like to put away all things that remind me of Us, to wrap and tie our love affair into a bundle, and set it out in the woods so that our memories may be free and clean and as beautiful in my memory as they were when we breathed together, sweating, smiling, sighing.

And so I have taken my black pen to tan paper and curl black ink into the words of our red passion and longing and laughter: and so I take the winds of Nature’s winter and invite them to carry my voice. And so I have written this story, and set it all out without saying much, so I will not forget our precious past. But it will forget me.


Gnomes still live in the forests, they say. Short, strong, jolly, with white beards and strong tools and warm homes beneath the big trees. There are spirits here: the deer know the weather. The gold leaves are gone, now: last night the windstorm took it away and now, suddenly, we are barren, gray, ready for winter.

I would like to be quiet, and listen to the quiet sounds of the forest.

I would like to know how the animals and their hungry children live amongst the pine trees, red bark sweet with sap, when the white cold snow comes and does not leave for four months. I would like to know how the animals live when the white ice descends:

I do not know and I would like to know.


I have almost never even almost cried, all my life. And I do not almost cry, now, for I move too fast. But when I do feel the sadness behind my eyes, it feels good, and I remember you and I am sad and grateful. I am not empty, angry, or self-pitying: I am ready. I loved you, a little, and you loved me, a little, and we made love, and we laughed, a lot, and we argued only a few and made up quickly except for the last time when you said it was all too much—one too many times.

It was a love affair for the books: a thin book: visible tracings of an invisible experience. At the end all our life and lives are merely knick knacks, things to be put into boxes to be sold or donated. And it is gone: what lives on, and does it matter?


But that is for the end of the Future. All that matters now is to live while the present moment lasts, and to dance into the next moment.

“To ease the pain of living: everything else: drunken dumbshow.” ~ Allen Ginsberg


It is white Winter, my strong legs are shaky with hunger—I am defeated today, and still I can win. My hunger makes me focused, dangerous. It is cold, but I wear the red union suit beneath a wool striped sweater and a knit hat and dark thick jeans and heavy boots with wool linings and a tweed jacket and a wool coat with a high collar over my ears. A warm Winter is about breathing through many layers.


I would like to see Future’s face, but she is silhouetted against the sun, the blindingly bright ocean at her back. I can only see her figure, not her expression. Her figure is elegant, and I appreciate her dress.

I would like to see her open eyes, I would like to see her proud nose, I would like to touch her hair, I would like to hear her voice, I would like to touch her hand.

But most of all I would like to be alone, for now, for the Winter has not yet come, and it is not yet the Future.

I would like to know if I already know her name.

I already know her last name.

I would like to see her capable hands holding our love.

I would like to hear her laugh, her laughter is awkward, it is the kind of laugh that is not self-conscious. I would even like to hear her smile in her sleep, a quiet smile.

Red dog will be in the corner, he will be old, and he will snore sometimes, and when he does it is sweet and funny.

I would like to stretch her out below and be stretched out above, and we can turn, and toss, and bend, and jump, and ride and stand and bend and laugh and pray. I would like to look into her eyes without thinking anything.


I would like to celebrate life with someone.

But I would like to be so alone, first, for alone is the earth beneath the roots beneath the flower beneath the sunshine and rain.

I would like to love, but I have lost many dear friends and shallow friends and I would like to take the time to fully appreciate my own raw red heart and I would like to think that this is enough. But it may not be, but it had better be, or I shall turn bitter, and that is understandable. For human society is a cold shallow thing, but only when we forget our lonely hearts. And I am tired of serving those who would destroy their own nest.

Ah. And here it is winter, coming in now, I can see it rising over the mountains, and falling down at our Big Town. And I will close in, with Red dog, alone. I close the door, and keep the fire hot. I would like to use my kindling axe.

I would like to host a party in my home: friends and families will come and stand in wool socks on my red rugs, and sit on my old-fashioned wingback armchairs and three children will sit tightly together in my little antique settee, holding a new baby. And five of us will venture out to the park and gather snow and bring it back and we would like to pour maple syrup on the snow. And she would like to make hot brown coffee, and we would like to sing, and later a few of us will tromp along wet snowy roads with Red dog.

In the Future, I will return to my cabin with her, and though I do not like sunglasses I will wear them as we snowshoe through naked stark dark trees.


Now, I am blinded by the white Winter, but when it leaves and the fog come and when the rain comes and when it leaves and the leaves come, budding light green, then perhaps I will meet my match, and she will meet hers, and we will be alone, together, and we will become dear, silly, passionate Friends and fearless servants devoted to the greater good.

I would like that.
< done >



YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | | | | | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom


Like this article? Leave a tip!

(We use PayPal but you don't need an account with PayPal.)

Elephriends - Mindful Affiliates

21 Responses to “Things I would like to do before the Future.”

  1. I adore this and I realized something too. An earlier reader compared you to Dickens (which, wow, what a compliment, right?); yet he's my favorite author. I remember being so relieved when I read the real and true ending for Great Expectations, because it was the only book of his that deeply disappointed me—until I realized that it was only the ending the publisher had demanded that disappointed me (the too-good-to-be-true and syrupy, phony, doesn't-make-sense-with-the-book ending).
    And I realized, with my readings lately—including this—that a good book (occasionally turned into a movie; i.e. romantic comedy) is nearly always one thing: predictable (but it will never be a truly great story); and many a bad story that pretends it's a great one is the simulation of what many truly great stories are (like Dickens'): unpredictable—and sometimes disappointing in how they twist and turn and often even end.
    And this is the making of a great story—what you've been writing—because you've not been afraid to take those unexpected detours. I look forward to each installment.

  2. Senseofenergy says:

    I have looked forward to each new segment and smiled eagerly to read when I saw a new one posted. I recently had someone come into my life for a very short but profound reason. Even though I knew the connection was not meant to last long, it was still sad to have it end. I take solace in knowing I helped him as much as he helped me, that we were two people meant to touch each other's souls to heal and grow…then move on.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    It's perfect. ~ B. xo

    • elephantjournal says:

      Thanks, you of all people, who helped edit so thoroughly a few of the key first ones that helped set the tone. Sad day.

  4. Chantelle says:

    You paint a vivid picture of the most elegant way one could deal with the loss of love. Thank you for all of these beautifully written segments of your dreamy minds eye.

  5. StephD says:

    Heart-wrenching and so beautiful. You truly have a gift. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hope says:

    I have been reading these ever since you started posting them. Somehow you seem to capture my experiences in all the words I wish I could express. Thank you for sharing your story and for allowing mine to come to life.

  7. Sara says:

    Beautiful and Inspirational!

    I would like to know you.

    I would like to hold your hands and look into your eyes and see into you. I would like to know each piece of you, even the ones you don’t fully know yourself yet. The person that you bravely choose to show the world, yes he is an important part of you, but just one part. Maybe he is the outer right corner of your jigsaw puzzle, or maybe you have still not yet figured out where he fits among the scattered pieces on the floor. Or maybe you have reached the place where you are comfortable enough to show the world all of your pieces, which makes them that much easier to share with me.

    Whether your puzzle is complete and on display or still in a box, it does not matter to me. For no matter what state it is in, your puzzle is a masterpiece. And sometimes when you have figured it all out and your puzzle fits perfectly together and everything makes sense the world laughs at your naivety and sends you an earthquake, shaking and breaking things until you are more scattered and confused than you have ever been before.

    I would like to hear the stories come pouring out of you. Because you have lived for years and you have a past with so many journeys and adventures and sorrows that have shaped you into what you are today. There are stories of the people that you have loved and the ones that you have lost and those that you still love and how you love and I find these stories fascinating.
    I would like to hear your stories so that I will understand. Not to try to change you, or accept the things that I don’t really care for. For that means passing judgment, and really, who I am to pass judgment?

    I would like to understand because I am a Scorpio and that it what we do. We are curious and ask questions and are not content until we have explored the depths of the essence of everything. And sometimes it gets uncomfortable and sometimes that makes people leave but you will not leave.

    I would like to be wrapped in your embrace and feel safe, your strong arms holding me tightly as if you will never let me go. You promise that you won’t ever let me fall. But the world can be a dark and cruel place and sometimes I will plummet and break into pieces just like Humpty Dumpty although slightly less round- it’s all the yoga I’ve been doing after all. And when that happens you know that all I need is the space held for me while I start to rebuild. I just want your arms to hold me and your soft reassurance that it will be ok. Because even though I am independent and strong and have had to rebuild so many times alone I feel safe enough with you to be vulnerable and weak and shattered.

    I would like to hold you just as tightly because you don’t need to always be the strong one. I would like to remind you that you are perfect and your sadness and anger is perfect and we are perfect together exactly where we need to be at this moment.
    I would like to know you, and I would like you to know me.

  8. carissa says:

    Spare. Winteral. Eloquent. Weary but not exhausted. Completely wonderful, Mr. Lewis.

    I kept getting the image of a big sleep or at least a very long nap…both good for the soul. As I hope writing these has been for yours. Reading them, experience-by-proxy, has been therapeutic for me and most likely many. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I am glad, and not surprised, about you getting them bound/published. Cannot wait to see that. Visual aides are always a helpful bonus.

    My earlier comparison to Dickens was more about the serial nature of the pieces and their popular appeal rather than writing style. Dickens can be a bit over-the-top. Believe it or not, that’s up to you, for me you’ve definitely demonstrated in this segment (and others) that your voice is more subtle than that… and sometimes “too much”. Both useful at different times.

  9. rslyzuk says:

    "And so I have taken my black pen to tan paper and curl black ink into the words of our red passion and longing and laughter: and so I take the winds of Nature’s winter and invite them to carry my voice."

    That was an incredibly beautiful sentence. Another wonderful piece. Well done, Waylon!

    • elephantjournal says:

      Thanks, brother! They're beautiful only to the extent that they're real, and hopefully connect with others' experience of real..!

  10. Lara says:

    To know love like this exists, is eye opening, hopeful, and beautiful…thank you for sharing. :)

  11. Jacinta says:

    Once I stayed in a big old country house on a cold and windy November weekend, like now! I happened upon a book that kind of reminds me of the series you’ve written, except its a collection of love stories about how people met and found one another. The book is called “A Match Made in Heaven” (Susan Wales & Ann Platz). Now, I pull it off the shelf when I’m in a certain nostalgic mood and become totally unhinged every time – I cry, I laugh, I dream… again, and again. (Check it out -it needs a sequel).
    There was a couple also staying at the house, and when the weekend was over, they shared with me that he had proposed to her that weekend, while walking along this long stretch of empty beach… It was like another story for the book! There was magic in the air that weekend! Oh and I almost forgot the part when I stopped on the country road to pick up firewood, and the guy who was selling the wood …. Seriously, thought I stepped into a Harlequin Romance …. unbelievable, surreal moment. I recall not being able to say much, coherently, and he gave me the firewood for free. LMAO – fun to laugh at now.
    Ok I digress lol. (I think my writers block is becoming unblocked ?)

    • elephantjournal says:

      I think so, too!

      Follow your breath, as Ginsberg used to teach!

      • jacinta says:

        haha :) thanks ej PS… saw this quote today: 'In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.'
        ~ Albert Schweitzer ~

  12. audrey says:

    …..this is preparing my soul for a future past love. – since your 1st installment. grieving the past weeks as questions and answers swim in my heady mind. i try to stay quiet and contemplate. your writing unfolds my future. ~ n a m a s t e ~

  13. fluxustulip says:


    I wonder how many hearts have been liberated by this journey of things & how many hearts those will liberate. Ripple-effect, Trickle-down. Healing tears & laughter… now THAT’S a collaboration.

    Good Work. Good Words. Good-Ness.

    Thanks for all the fish Dharma-Friend.

    Tare Tutare Ture Soha

  14. Georgie says:


  15. Alex Myles says:

    please stop writing so ridiculously beautifully… I need to get some work done

Leave a Reply