Down by the lake this evening an old couple sitting together on a bench stopped me in my tracks. They were so simple and yet so present that they could not be missed. And their presence resonated with me, my moods and thoughts, in particular.
It was a beautiful thing. A cool wind blew steadily and strongly across the lake, and she sits bundled in a light coat and scarf. She shields herself from the wind by leaning in against him and talks to him lightly, looking up into his face as he gently nods and watches the lake. And I wonder it happens. How, exactly, does that happen? With all the people and activity breezing by them, they are perfectly and happily alone together, entirely content. How does that happen?
I have seen young lovers at the lake many times, but never do I think I have seen a couple so easily at peace. Such an owly couple, they are! So calm and controlled, so self-assured. And it made me think that love — your true love — comes with time and maturity, and maybe just a bit of effort. How rare that seems to be. How rare indeed. It is something to chew on.
The couple soon stood and left, and when they left, they very much left together. They walked across the street behind them, got into a sensible car, and I haven’t any doubt they are still together now and will always be together regardless of whether one or the other is near or far, there can be no doubt about this. Even the end must seem sweet to them.
Yesterday I wrote about owly of another kind, the ornery kind that goes storming off in irritable disgust. I focus on this because we all deal with the all-too-human owly. Frankly I don’t believe unhappiness always begets more unhappiness anymore than I think a moment of happiness is a guarantee of unbroken bliss.
This old couple was a gift tonight, an answer to those thoughts. Certainly it is a gift of time and experience, both good and bad, that gives them the comfort they share alone together. It seems clear to me that owly — both in the calm sense and in the cantankerous — work together and form something of a gestalt, a wholeness that is more than its parts.
Very simply, the irritable owly can coexist with the calm owly and form something other than either one or the other.
My walk in the woods felt sobering and detached. It fit the mood perfectly as a mix of sadness and optimism. I like the woods. A peaceful place to think. Tonight my thoughts did not rest, however. The old couple was a touchstone which let many pieces of thought and experience fall — not always comfortably — together. It never hurts to see the possible and sometimes that is a matter of first giving up the impossible.
Above all else, however, one needs to be open to what is possible. I cannot imagine the old couple being where they are today if one were naively optimistic and the other stubbornly unsure. The two must mix and mingle and that comes with looking forward and accepting the possible.
See how easy it is?
Well, ok…perhaps not easy…
Staying with the couple — I cannot help myself — if you are going to be both yourself and something more than yourself, you would need to accept the possible in the other, right? I think it is the same with just about anything. Easy in theory, complicated in practice, but straight-forward either way.
Part 2, by the way, is nothing but an easy walk in the woods and moments sitting in the sunshine staring at sailboats. (Perhaps more on that later.)
Somehow it will form a whole, I’m sure it will.
- Owly Night (alittletourinyellow.wordpress.com)