Midnight in my hammock. On the front porch, the air is thick and still warm from the day. I settle in, for a few minutes of deeprelax time and think of the vacation week ahead. Lots of preparation has gone into our annual summer roadtrip. This year we head to Colorado again. I’ve bought new camping gear. Some reservations have been made. I watch Youtube videos showing 4×4 trails that we could possibly take in the ‘new’ (1997, beat-up, 200,000 mile) Toyota 4Runner, I bought last Sunday.
Details run through my mind, like the tiny chipmunks skittering across those mountain roads. How do I want to setup camp? What will the trees be like? Beetlekilled dead? Or hopefully alive? If I use my tie-down straps to hang this same hammock, at a campground in Colorado, will the pine trees get my straps all sappy?? Should I buy new ones just for that purpose, or use some I already have and know they could be sticky and gross afterward? What is so important about the condition of my tie down straps? Why do I care if they get ruined or not?
Would it be bad to consider them a disposable item? I could use them for the trip, and if they are gross, just toss them when I get home????
This is the minutae that distracts me from real progress. Like actually deciding where my lovely wife and furry kid, Roxy, will stay next Tuesday and Wednesday night. I don’t know yet, we have the whole State of Colorado to choose from, so I put off such big decisions.
Anyway, I realize that I rarely use my tie down straps. Not like when I was younger and went quad riding all the time. I could sacrifice a couple of them to the Colorado Pines. It would be totally worth it. I guess.
I am hesitant to feel wasteful. I am insecure about the ideas of tossing money away. I hold tight to an idea that everything is supposed to be permanent and pretty. All things are to remain in best possible condition, for as long as possible, while in my care. I will try to avoid ruining ‘things’ I’ve bought, and only buy good stuff when I do…
Actually, when I think about it, everything I know as tangible physical ‘stuff’ is disposable. At my Mother’s house last week, they had a scare. A smell of smoke was coming from the ductwork and strong in an upstairs bathroom. They called the fire dept. Mom was in shock and scared. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing. A burned up motor that may have caused the smell, and had everyone very worried.
My mother and step-dad Joe, have spent twenty-several years working on this home. They have constantly been improving it, from the fine beginnings that Joe himself constructed. Recently, they’ve installed a new kitchen, updated carpets, light fixtures, paint and appliances… So fragile. A Matchbook. All could be gone in a flash. That is the scare that Mom had last week. I felt for her. So much energy, and effort, money too, in their beautiful and sturdy home…
My recent vehicle purchase: A solidly built 4×4 of reliable mechanical heritage, once was a slick new machine. It probably shined bright on some showroom floor. Leather perfect, gold trim gleaming. Now it is dented. It has scratches. The frame is spotted rusty. It had at least one bad day, where an angry person hit it, over and over again… No, not me, but somebody did. I bought it in a flash, without checking over it properly. I am not as wise without my wife around. I need her to slow down my impulsiveness sometimes. Anyway, it used to be pretty, and now it’s not. Much cheaper though, a deal. Hopefully a Colorado Mountain Machine, dirty enough, and tough too, to tackle the trails.
Disposable, all of it.
From my ten dollar tie downs, to the house I’m hammocking in front of, to the busted laptop I’m typing on… it all will be gone someday. The mountains we see next week, will seem more permanent, forever there. Immovable. Static. The peaks of their beaks spiking toward the sky indefinitely…
But they won’t last forever either.
I heard that the spring floods last year, have altered things at Rocky Mountain Naitional Park. A picnic area at the Alluvial Fan, has been cluttered with boulders… Somebody said, ‘it all got messed up’… funny. The Alluvial Fan is already a clutter of boulders, they fell and tumbled when a high mountain dam broke. Now things look different, more different maybe than man will be able to ‘fix.’
My dented new car, and the gear I pack in it, are all with me for just a brief moment in time. A week together in Colorado, then the tent is back in it’s bag, until someday when it’s trash, then beyond that, at some point, it will return to nothing again…
Me too. My ‘things’ of my life will too. My fingernails, my hair I buzz, maybe my appendix will go. Eventually though, it all will. These hands I type with. The eyes I read with, the feet I walked on all day, will be gone. Nothing of me, will escape the reality of impermanence…
It is unpleasant to think about losing the whole of the only world I really know. It is spooks me to go mentally to places without myself. I relate to the world through the lens of ‘me’ and without that, I struggle to comprehend. Suuuuure, there are other beings and other truths, besides just me. But I am disposable. I am not permament. I am not everything there is…
It’s not all bad, to realize my disposability. I see an opportunity to release. I see a crack in the doorway to a new reality. If permanence isn’t possible, why do I try so hard to attain it? Here in this place, where I stress over the purchase of a beat-up truck, and wonder about ‘ruining’ a pair of cheap tie down straps, I may be missing the big picture all together.
There are things of this world, yes. There is stuff in our lives. We can be stewards, we can be disciplined to caretake and to clean. But since nothing is lasting forever anyway, can I really decide to get out there and just USE the tools at hand. Can I decide to try to find ways to exercise and to operate the stuff of the world around. Can I gather experiences and develop myself, through using life, instead of being careful not to mess it up?
Since my worldly life isn’t permanent anyway, can I begin the adventure of disposing of it, in a more active way? I can’t stuff myself into a savings account. I can’t reserve a bit of me, for the future. I can, let loose on this page, right now. I can express what is here and now, for you, for someone, for the vast of consciousness to absorb in tiny ways or big. I can become the moment wherever I am, and get dirtier, dented’er, and more burned up, as I continue forward on my path.
I can’t save myself. I can’t guarantee jack squat. A nice vacation with my life-partner-wife next week, will be exactly what I let it be. Exultation of the grandiosity of creation, or a worry-fest of messing up… Same goes for my life.
I will probably do some of both. I am rarely as committed in person, as I am on this page. I will ride the middle, be mediocrity incarnate, I will do the same things others have already done, and be proud of my baby accomplishments. I’ll be frugal and prudent and not take things to extremes. I’ll probably begin to re-believe in the permanence of me, and my piddly possessions. I’ll preserve and protect, instead of playing all out. Fear again, may steer my wheels…
Here’s to the disposable life. May we see it for what it is. May we use it, to enhance the experience of others. May we mess up here, falling and bruising ourselves, learning to walk the greater walk.
There is a chance at forever. There is an infinite glistening sparkle that we’re invited to inhabit. I don’t know the nature of how it works. I cannot begin to fathom. Jesus is asking us to join Him. These flea-sized worries of life, could be lost in the universe of joy. I wonder if we will wish we’d played a little harder, broken a few more boundaries, and expanded the scope of our plastic suburban worlds, if we could look back from that vantage point.
The mountains are calling me, they want me to join them praising our Creator, from their fragile tippy tippy tops. I can’t wait. The urgency is delicious. Lindsay, my bride. I LOVE You 🙂