Betty J. Slade
As we wrap up 2022, a new year is already in motion. Life seems to be traveling swifter than the San Juan River during a snowmelt.
Someone said to me, “Even the young feel their lives are going by too fast. How can anyone keep up with all of the demands they’re facing?”
Are we stepping into the same boat as before, trying to keep it upright until we reach the other shore — again? If that is the case, my Sweet Al and I have been paddling for a long time. All in an effort to meet whatever the day demands.
We’ve pressed on through many deep waters, braced ourselves for many storms and likely even capsized a time or two. But, somehow, the strength of the currents always kept us close to shore.
Last year our first great-grandchild arrived. How exciting to be a part of this time. It makes me wonder if I have done everything to leave behind a world better and safer for this little boy. Will he experience innocence and adventure in a way befitting a child?
I was introduced to Dylan Thomas, a Welch poet. He wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
What is it that we need to rage against? Hasn’t our own light shone bright enough for this next generation? Are we keeping our rudder steady and on course?
Thomas addresses the wise, good, and wild men in his poem, “Do not go gentle …” His words were for the sick and elderly, leaving a personal note for his dying father.
Smart people at the end of their lives understand that death is inevitable — but, because they haven’t yet said anything startling or revolutionary, nothing powerful enough to shock the world like a bolt of lightning, they refuse to peacefully accept death.
Serious people realize with sudden clarity that even those who have lost their sight can, like meteors, be full of light and happiness.
While those passages seem heavy and full of gloom, they’re not. They do, however, signify a responsibility that we have to ride out every living moment to its fullest. Time is going to continue. Ours is to ride it to its meteoric finish.
Thomas died at 39 years old, but his words still live. They goad me not to go about my day in a gentle way, not to take the easy way out, but to embrace it by faith. Rage against it if you will. But do all things as if we are a light to all who pass by. That we could even be an illumination for others.
Final brushstroke: I have not been given the assignment to champion whales or save exotic fish. But, I do pray for those who are pounded under the pressure of deep swift waters. We all tread in those moments but have to keep afloat understanding light and happiness is our own.