Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19: Under the Stars, Unafraid, Letting Go

...Elwyn crept through the dark and aromatic marsh, past croaking frogs and unexplained scurries, to the boulders, beyond which distant lights shone on the water.  There this short and slight boy, who would run blocks to avoid a bully but who felt safe in the natural world where no other people were around, would shed his clothes and slip into the black water.  Quietly, so as not to attract attention, he swam in the darkness, floating under the stars, unafraid.

There's a great deal of beauty in the above passage from the E. B. White biography The Story of Charlotte's Web.  White, as a boy, was small and scrawny.  A target at school for all kinds of negative attention.  Yet, he had an escape.  A place where he could shed the troubles of the world and just be happy and worry-free.

When I first read this description of White skinny-dipping in the night, I envied the sheer freedom of it.  Letting go of life's problems is not easy for me.  They float above me, like the stars above Elwyn as he swims in the darkness.  When I climb into bed at the end of a day, they follow me, make it difficult for me to fall asleep.

I'm going on a trip to Wisconsin this weekend.  My daughter has a dance competition.  It's going to be a quick little sojourn.  We leave Friday morning, and she competes that night at 10 p.m.   Saturday is free.  We'll probably swim in the hotel pool.  Shop (without buying anything--we don't have the cash).  Maybe go out to eat (we may splurge and buy KFC).  Then we come home on Sunday and dive right back into life.

I'm looking forward to the trip, but it certainly will not be without its share of stress.  We will not be skinny dipping or stargazing.  It's not that kind of hotel.  However, it will be a different kind of stress.  Not I'm-losing-my-job stress.  More do-I-take-this-off-ramp stress.

I don't think I will ever find a place where I can let go of worries.  When I'm in a new place, I simply find new worries.  Or I pack the old worries in my suitcase with my toothbrush.  But I do have moments of bliss.  Reading my son a story at night.  Listening to a Roger Miller song.  Sitting next to my wife at night, not talking, just being together.

That's Saint Marty's idea of floating under carefree stars.  Unafraid.  Happy.

Just take Exit I Don't Give a Shit...

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