Thursday, June 17, 2004

Hint of Bitter

Truth be told, I am having one of those occasional down days. Little decisions seem difficult and overwhelming. Dare I make the switch from cable television to satellite television? Why does that puny, insignificant decision seem so monumentally difficult today? Sue asks me to print a few wedding photos to show her friends, and the task frustrates me. How many hundreds of these sheets have I previously printed with enthusiastic ease? It is not normally difficult for me, yet today I dither: try one arrangement and scrap it; try several more and do the same.


Is it because it is simply natural for every up-cycle, every emotional high, like the wedding celebration of the weekend, to be followed by an emotional downturn? Is that simply the way we are, or the way that I am?

Is it because I see an old face staring back at me from the wedding photos? From whence came those heavy creases around the corners of my eyes? How about the loose jowls flapping like so much turkey-skin about the neck? Where did the boy go? It feels to him as though his own wedding day was but yesterday, but all of a sudden he is the elder gent walking the girl-become-woman to the altar. She recites her vows in the sun; he slinks back into the shadows.

The gent is happy to see his little girl grow up to be such an outstanding human being, happy to see her marry such a grand man. He would not have it otherwise, would not deny her this blessed passage. He would not deny it for himself either, but his own mostly-sweet passage contains a hint of bitter. There is some darkness gathering in the corners of the corridors down which he now treads.

Life is mostly sweet if we hold it rightly upon our tongues. Perhaps it is the occasional taste of bitter that makes the most of it seem all the sweeter. Bitter is, after all, a taste. It lets us know that our senses are alive. Still alive.

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