Life, etc.

On my long daily commute, to and from work, I often have time to reflect on days past, the day to be and days to come. It so happened that, on this day, my train of thought fell upon the cruelty and beauty of time. The cruelty being that I've recently had to see the harsh decline of my dear uncle due to Alzheimers. It's stripped him of his manhood, his individuality, his continence and the inability to recognize his loving wifes face. The once strong, loving father and husband is now at the mercy of this disease and resides in a nursing home. Time has also stripped my dear aunt of her life-long love. Her childhood sweetheart. Her hero.

On a personal level, the cruelty has been in the seemingly extension of days, a new wrinkle every month, the toll of past regrets and missed opportunities (as a result of bad timing, incidentally). However, the cruelest blow that time has dealt me, is the inevitable realization that my dear and loving parents will eventually leave this plane. As a child, this thought was so unbearable that I would often say to my father, "dad, I hope I die before you because I don't want to see you and mom die." In which he would reply, "Mi hijo, don't you ever say that again! A parent should never bury their child. Besides, you are going to be a good father to someone someday." I haven't any children, as of yet, but I wonder if that's a blessing or a curse. A blessing in that I will not have the chance of (god forbid) burying one of my children and yet a curse in that I will never be called "daddy," nor feel the warmth of little "Sophie's" hand tucked neatly into mine.

Which brings me to the beauty of time. It has afforded me the priviledge of witnessing the birth (not literally, mind you) of my three absolutely beautiful nieces. It has granted me the ability to feel pure and utter love in the form of lovers, siblings and family. I've felt the beauty-burn of a magnificent sunset in Santa Fe and have felt the equally beautiful sting of lost love (yes, there's actually beauty in that). I've swam in the pristine natural waters surrounding Austin and have hiked the majestic Franklin Mountains of El Paso. I've had pints in the obscure Arann Islands of Ireland, walked the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, Scotland and have warmed myself by a fire in Ye old London. Yet, there's so much more beauty to experience in the years to come, "time" permitting, of course.

So does one outweigh the other? Honestly, I'm not sure. I do know, however, that I've learned to lean more towards appreciating the "beauty" of time rather than the inevitable cruelty of its close cousin. If time were to take me at this very moment, I can whole-heartedly say that it's been a good ride. How about you?

Esteban Luis Soto

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