"What a night!" he repeated, hoarsely. "What feasting and carousing! A real gorge! I must have eaten the remains of thirty lunches. Never have I seen such leavings, and everything well-ripened and seasoned with the passage of time and the heat of the day. Oh, it was rich, my friends, rich!"
Templeton is a total hedonist. He stuffs himself on rotten meat and popcorn kernels and half-eaten hotdogs. He doesn't worry about indigestion or his stomach exploding. He's a rat. Rats scavenge. Rats eat. Rats don't care about anything but themselves, at least in the Charlotte's Web universe.
I have indulged myself a little bit today. I went to McDonald's for breakfast. I read The Fault in Our Stars. I went to my niece's high school graduation party, at which I ate a lot of stuff I shouldn't have eaten. Soft pretzels with nacho cheese. Cheesy potatoes. Mac and cheese. (My whole gastrointestinal system will probably be backed up for a week as a result!) And now I'm sitting on my couch, watching an episode of The Lawrence Welk Show (another guilty pleasure). After a week of mourning, not to mention starting a new job, I decided to give myself a little vacation.
Of course, I'm experiencing a little guilt now. I should have been more productive. Maybe picked sticks off my lawn or raked my backyard. Worked on a new poem. But I didn't. Sometimes, you really do have to just...stop. Breathe. Relax.
Tonight's poem comes from a poet named Eleanor Lerman, and it's about appreciating life, in all its facets.
Saint Marty needs to do that a little more often.
by: Eleanor Lerman
This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?
Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.
And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.
Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life's way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won't give you smart or brave,
so you'll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you
were able to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have started again.
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.
Confessions of Saint Marty