Today I found myself inspired by the words of Annie Dillard. In "Living Like Weasels", Dillard reveals her connection with nature. (If you haven't read the story, you should sometime. Buy or Google it.)
Long before ever setting my eyes on any of her transcendental-like tales, I realized that human beings have drifted far away from their original states. I'm not speaking of evolution here, for the most part. What I am saying is that human beings have become far too civilized. We consider ourselves elite and sophisticated; ideas which I do not intend to argue.
However, one point of interest for me is the definition of sophistication. We all think we know what it means, but could it be a mere synonym for complication? Sometimes when I notice nature--and I mean really observe it--I find that I feel lost.
Dillard uses a weasel to show instinct and the natural form of life. A weasel does all it needs to do based on necessity, but does not waste much time contemplating anything it sees, nor does it remember much.
While contemplation and remembrance are certainly handy tools of the human mind, I feel as though simply living on what "seems right" may be the answer to life we are all looking for.
At the bottom of her story in Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, I wrote:
I feel that this story explores a very deep and crucial notion. Often I, too, explore the difference between nature and "civilization", as we call it. But, perhaps, it is important to remember what it truly means to live.
Are we supposed to remove forests for road land? Should we file papers so another human being--one who, perhaps, has forgotten what life is all about--can make money?
At the very least, she explores the most obvious meaning of life. While the answer is different to all of us, we can all agree on what the answer is not. This.
McDonald's is the topic this time--well, not exactly. So, I was over in Broad Ripple. For those of you who don't know, Broad Ripple Village is the nicest part of Indianapolis, and quite frankly, the most active part of central Indiana. There's this gloomy Mickey D's out there where one is often afraid of being confronted by a stranger. By that I mean one fears conversation more than being mugged or shot.
After I ordered a medium double cheeseburger and was ready to take my seat, I saw an older local creating small talk with one of my cohorts. He blabbed about nearly everything.
"You know, normally I wouldn't bother you," the gent said, "but my friend is coming into town and I'm just really ex-cited. Like, I mean, real 'cited."
Of course, my cohort was nodding kindly and remarking with small gestures of compassion.
"You know, young man," the gent continued on, "one day you'll get to bein' an ol' man like and you'll see how much you can appreciate one true, good, real friend. Ya know what I mean, man? I mean, he's done some things I'm not proud of, but I give everyone that one chance. You know what I mean, man? I gim 'em that un chance."
Somewhere along the line, I spaced out from the conversation, since it wasn't mine to be listening to. Every three or four seconds after I took my seat, he kept turning around and mentioning how great life can be. How great people can be if you give them just that one chance.
You never know when or where you'll receive your life lessons. In this case, my cohort learned life's lessons at McDonald's.
In my life, lessons like this come from all of the small things in the oddest ends of the world. Whether on Capitol Hill or the local grocery store, someone will always give a fresh taste of reality. Even if they're coming off like a raving lunatic.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.