“No, the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river.
All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount
of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting
of a steamboat. Since those days, I have pitied doctors from my heart.
What does the lovely flush in a beauty’s cheek mean to a doctor
but a ‘break’ that ripples above some deadly disease.
Are not all her visible charms sown thick with what are to him
the signs and symbols of hidden decay? Does he ever see her
beauty at all, or doesn’t he simply view her professionally,
and comment upon her unwholesome condition all to himself?
And doesn’t he sometimes wonder whether he has gained most or lost
most by learning his trade?”
Life On The Mississippi, Mark Twain
There are days like today where I feel completely uninspired.
I want so badly to see the beauty I once saw in everything, but I see nothing but predictable decay. There is nothing new, nothing exciting. I know how it all works, know how it will all turn out. Days like today take the wind out of me, because people like me need inspiration. We are fueled by it. Without stimulation, we lose all motivation. Problem is: the world will always be full of the mundane. The very thing I despise is the very thing that keeps me physically alive.
And so I fear, will I forget the beauty of rosy cheeks? Will I approach a day where I no longer feel the romance of a raging river? If nothing elevates my mind the way it used to, I shudder to think of the corrosion my mind will suffer.
There is something to be said about imagination. About give and take. About not knowing everything, and being completely at ease with that fact. If the never ending void presented itself to me with all the answers, I may just take the offer.
But what then?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase people use, “Those were the best years of my life.” Sometimes they refer to their childhood. Or their teens. Or twenties. I sat yesterday toying with the idea that maybe I haven’t lived my best days yet. I certainly do not look back to any point in my life and say, “Gee, I wish I could go back there.” There is no year that I miss. Those could not have been the best years of my life. And this one that I am currently living certainly cannot be.
Perhaps this moment of contemplation, of questioning, is one that we all must go through. A period of time where mundane meets miraculous. Where I am free to take my imagination to new heights as I dream of what my ‘best days’ might hold. I hope they are breathtakingly enchanting.
And so I sit, a bit more at ease, knowing that my best years have yet to come. That I can allow that burden of the past to lift a little bit more off of my shoulders and take a deep breath.
I can see the beauty in rosy cheeks, and feel the romance of a raging river and know that maybe with those moments, I am building the foundation. My foundation.