While looking through some old photographs the other day, I came across some that were taken when I was a child. It was wonderful to see the looks in my friends’ faces. Their youth, their joy, their love of life. Not the lines of old age, the gray hair, the harshness of life that was apparent when they passed over to whatever lies beyond.
I thought about the old Tarzan movies and the natives who thought that the camera took your soul and wouldn’t allow the photographer to live unless they destroyed the image. This got me to thinking, and Crom knows it’s not always a good thing for me to think too hard.
A photograph does steal your soul. It takes a piece of it and places it on a piece of paper for everyone to see. It steals the moment it was taken. It steals a moment of joy, a moment of sadness and keeps it constant. It will never change as each passing second changes the person in the picture.
As you grow older, you remember the youth and the things only the young can do. You wonder why you have to age and allow the miseries of age to rob you of the things you want to do, but cannot do. Age, illness and misery are the earmarks of a long life, while the image on paper stays the same and mocks you.
If you could live forever and not age another day, would you? Would you want to watch your friends and family age and wither until they die? Would you want your feet firmly planted on solid ground and never discover the mysteries beyond the veil?
No one knows what tomorrow will bring. If we did, we would all be happy and win the lottery and not have a care in the world. Or is it better to live each day to the fullest and enjoy your life? If we live each day as if it were our last and follow the original “golden rule” of treating each other as we wish to be treated, wouldn’t the world be a better place.
It seems there are too many today who live by the “Modern Golden Rule” in that he who has the gold, makes the rules. I’m sure there are more “modern” folks out there than “originals”. We all have our demons and angels in our lives.
There are some who allow the demons to rule their life and use them to obtain their goals. Every now and then, someone loses the control and allows the demon to reach out and touch someone else and in doing so end up as demons themselves.
Then there are those who feel the demons inside and use any means possible to keep them bottled up inside and lose themselves only to become a vessel of pain.
Sometimes one can keep the demon under control and keep it in a deep dark place in their soul, but know that it can break out at any time and wreak havoc. It becomes a constant ache or ringing in your ears to let you know it’s there waiting for that instant it needs to break out and go on a spree. You maintain the control, but become numb to the joys and, sadly, to the love that is in the world. You “live in your own world”, “march to the sounds of a different drummer”, or beat on the cells of a rubber room.
A home is said to be a place filled with familiar things, love, and safety. I would say it’s funny, but too many people have a home only in their mind. Too often the dust and the cobwebs build up there and they are afraid to shed the skin or the shell and grow and find their feelings again. They can’t bring themselves to open that door and escape into the sunshine.
Why do we stay this way? Are we happy to spend our lives in our own private Idaho or in one of the nine circles of Hell? Crom, I’m full of questions and I have no answers. BS, that’s not true. I’m full of answers, but no one ever asks me, or if they do, it’s the wrong one and they really don’t want an answer.
Do you really think the person that you pass on the street really wants to know “How are you?” No, they don’t, not any more than they want to know what you had for breakfast this morning. We go through life making the motions until they become habits.
Here’s an exercise for you. Make a list of your friends, I’ll wait.
Now look at that list and use your fingers to count those to whom you would tell your deepest, darkest secret. Use your other hand and count those who already know your deepest, darkest secret. I’ll bet you have at least two fingers left on your first hand. I’ll also bet that your other hand only has one finger outstretched at the most. If I’m wrong, you are a better person than I am, but I know who I trust and who I can talk to about anything and it makes me a better person.
I never said I was an exceptional person, not even a good one; but, I know it makes me a better person. I may be totally fubar, but I know it, my true friends know it and they accept me for who and what I am. No apologies needed or wanted – just honesty, truth and understanding. They are with you from the lowest low to the highest high, but yet they are an anchor to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground.
Living is a lot harder than dying, especially these days. But living is always better than dying. We all will pass over one day and I would rather it be on my own terms than on someone else’s. Make peace with yourself, live life to its’ fullest, laugh often and love with all your heart.
I hope this little epistle gives you a new perspective on what’s going on. Let me hear what you think, I’m not going anywhere until the guys in the white coats drag me off kicking and screaming.
Barry Hunter has published Baryon Magazine since 1976 and it is well known in the science fiction and fantasy field. He has been writing since his college days and most recently his fiction has been presented in various anthologies published by Whortleberry Press. He is married and has one son. His websites are www.baryon-online.com and thebaryonreview.blogspot.com