As I left my apartment this morning I passed by a parking lot where a man exclaimed, “You never know what tomorrow will bring.” A sulking woman walking away from him replied, “Ain’t that the truth.” And while the words sounded suspiciously B-novel, I started thinking about them and their defeatist attitude. Sure life sucks sometimes, but I know what tomorrow will bring. Yeah, life is unpredictable, unstable at times, but that doesn’t mean we have to just float with the current hoping to one day wash upon a tropical shore. We can swim. I suppose that’s the difference between those people and me. I make my tomorrows. Or, at least I try.
I had a friend in my high school math class who used to drone on about how crappy his life was. I tried to help him out, but it got tiresome after a while. One day he professed to me that he was considering suicide. It disturbed me, and I went home to think about it. The next day I had an answer. If your life is so bad that you are willing to throw everything away, then nothing matters anymore. You could just get up and get on a train. You could sail around the world. You could go live in the jungles of Hawaii. When you hit rock bottom, you’re not in prison, you’re free.
I just finished reading Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. I remembered why I like her so much. For a college philosophy class on the Transcendentalists we had to read Dillard. I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and was introduced to a new world. The Writing Life is less about nature and more about the process of writing, though the nature metaphors are heavy. Perhaps the book is more about Anne’s process of writing. In one chapter she claimed to hate writing. In another she does barrel rolls with a stunt pilot. She says writers don’t live, at least not while they’re writing, that wrapping ourselves in sheets of paper is a poor excuse for existence. Yet she continues. And I continued reading. That’s how you know someone is a good writer. You vehemently disagree with them, but turn the page.
On my way home this afternoon I saw this interesting rock on the ground. I picked it up and turned it over in my hands. It was brown and white and layered, like sedimentary rock. And I thought, 13 billion years ago something happened which exploded energy into the cosmos, which coalesced into dust and then stars, and then the stars blew up and made more stars, and some of that matter froze into rocks and planets, and oh, I just picked up a little piece of something that started 13 billion years ago. But what started then? And where will it finish?