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STOIC POETRY | Life at an oasis

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

October 4, 2019

Dear Eric,

Do we borrow from tomorrow when we live in an imagined better day? Maybe not. Perhaps this is how we make way into that better day? Isn't this what we do when we go to school? Or when we work hard to improve at our job? Or when we have children? Or write a book or tell a story or share a dream? In all these things we are borrowing some imagined future life in order to help ourselves or others begin to live better now. So, it seems we can borrow from the future just a bit. Just a little bit.

Tracks by Mitch Barrie CC flickr

But the future is an intangible something that really isn't. We can't truly go to or even know what will come until it is here. What's out there, possibly ahead, are just imagined mirage on the horizon which we make real through our efforts of approach. The wavy, shimmering dreams slowly materialize before our eyes as we get close. Others - those who have gone before - may tell us of some worthy dream oasis to be found in the wastes if only we go this way or that and provision ourselves sufficiently - and correctly - for the journey. They caution us to not miss our chance at discovery, warning that opportunity will pass like a desert caravan missing a sanctuary of life. Keep our eyes forward then on the wavy thing shimmering in the heat. March forward towards the dream. The safety of that dream. That place where dreams are real.

When we make the mark - when we reach the place we were after, or where we were told to be after - and we've caused the oasis to appear from nothing, from a simple dream into something real - what then of the journey? Did we live well along the way? Were we truly alive while we trudged through the sand in search of this place? Did we neglect the moments of desert travel? What unspoken treasures did we pass by along the way - scattered on the ground or glimmering in the hillsides of seemingly forsaken lands we never thought or knew we could visit - as we trudged along to the sanctioned lands? What mysteries and wonders of living did we bypass along the way, along a course we can never truly retrace, even if we followed our own footsteps back to the very places we once stood? And so, we sit at the blessed oasis and sip sweet water and eat honeyed bread and witness the approved life around us. There are others here as well. Others - like us - directed to this place by sage council of the past. We'll talk with them and compare notes. What a place this oasis is! How splendid we all arrived. It's a pity those out there in the desert. Those who wander still. Those who remain in the wastes. The sun is going down now... Shall we sit together and watch the final rays disappear behind the sand and water? It's good we came here, is it not? We did the right thing, did we not? Never mind... Let's watch the sun go down.

The Desert Oasis of Ubari Libya by Kiwirobertson CC Flickr

My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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