Greetings to those of you that remain. Indeed, I have been away so long in a world that moves so fast, that I may as well abscond this little corner of the Internet and retreat into whatever cavernous dwelling I have been inhabiting. Where have I been, you might be wondering (if you are of the predisposition to bother about the text displayed here), and I wish I had the answer. Answers, I have found, are few and far between in this age of questioning, and the answers that do dare to make themselves apparent are mediocre, dissatisfying, and, really, just a gateway to more questions.
Curiosity is the ill-begotten favour of a vacant existence, as it has always been. It resurfaces at moments where curiosity is most inopportune and has a way of driving sensibility from the mind. It delivers us into the hands of doubt and anxiety and takes away from us the surety that is essential for survival. Yet, curiosity is the device which allows us to ask questions, explore avenues that we may have otherwise shunned in our need to retain complacency. Somewhere between a murdered cat and the snug bed, then, lies the secret to life.
But life holds its secrets better guarded than merely an appropriate grade of curiosity. I once heard the line “the best place to hide is in plain sight” and have been caught with the sentiment of it ever since. To this end, I believe, life has bared all its secrets before us and is smugly waiting for us to take away from it what we will. While we grovel and claw through reality looking for that one crux that unifies our identity, life is standing right before us like some majestic oak with acorns ripe for the picking. And oh my, what acorns! Acorns ranging from the bitter almonds of cyanide to the sweet bite of honey, spread in equal measure, uniformly awaiting their fate at our hands.
So why don’t we pick the acorns, my dear reader? Why do we walk past oak after oak, intent upon scurrying through underground pipes we have fashioned for ourselves in an attempt to come face to face with a sunlight brighter than our own; a sunlight that simply doesn’t exist? Why are we so averse to letting ourselves be defined by our choices, by the decisions we make, by the acorns we pick? Why must our definition of ourselves be something that we’ve created from scratch, and not something that we’ve extracted from the world around us by the virtue of choice?
It just so happens that the mighty oaks bearing acorns aren’t sidelined. They aren’t mere spectators of our journey onwards, waiting at the edges of reality and sniggering at us, mocking our frailty and idiocy. These oaks are part of our journey, poised erectly on our path, set to repeat again and again like the gentle slap of a mother trying to wake her child from slumber. It is unfortunate that we have rather mastered the art of sleeping. We are entitled, nay required, to pick acorns from this tree, for they are supposed to provide us with nourishment on our journey. Instead, we choose to dig into the earth and survive on dirt and insects.
We are a composite of things we take away from the things that life throws at us, and life is throwing bitter and mealy acorns at us willy-nilly. We could avoid the acorns altogether for fear of bitter acorns, and live cautiously in the security of dirt and insects. Or, and this is the course of action that I would personally recommend, we could eat the damn acorn!
This is a realisation that struck me while having a conversation with someone I find myself irreparably attached to. Then, it was advice that I offered as it struck me, but only later did I realise the true consequence of these words, the extent of their meaning, the full impact that the simplicity of weaving a life out of existence has. I realised, then, that that is the shining beacon of knowledge that had been missing from my own life thus far. That we are a composite of things we take away seems, to me, a simple, unavoidable truth; one which I had apparently spent my entire life avoiding.
Recently, I consumed two vastly different forms of media, one soothing to the soul and the other infuriating (rest assured, dear reader; you shall, of course, be exposed to my unnecessarily verbose reviews of the two very soon). I realised, more while indulging in the abomination, that there was something to be learnt from every second that I was exposed to anything. This wasn’t a new realisation, of course, but one that reaffirmed my need to pen this post down.
We are a composite of things we take away from the things that life hurls at us. We are defined by the scars we sustain from the falling acorn. We are monuments of the acorns husks and oak leaves that stuck onto our clothing as we walked onwards and ever onwards. We are remembered by the birds perched on the oak trees that we slept under after eating our fill. We are a composite of what we take away, and not what we leave behind.