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Prickles & Goo

I wrote a letter to Mom. Or a letter to me. Or a letter to everyone. Or a daydream to the sky.


Hi Mom-

I feel wiser now than last we spoke. I know more facts and have more questions. I have more confidence and more contentment. I won’t figure it out; thriving in the mystery is enough. This is all fluffy gobbledygook, but like a wise author said “in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance.” 

A kinder name for banal platitudes is ancient wisdom. Mom, you might have called them Hallmark movie lessons. I’m reading Plato and friends with softer eyes…

Once I  thought time and health were my greatest assets. But maybe it’s attention. I’m trying to pay more attention to what I pay attention to. 

I’m also trying to think less about how I appear and more about how I am. It’s hard.

I’m grateful for so many mistakes made without anyone noticing. I hope to show similar grace when I see others being imperfect. 

Things are beautiful because they are brief. Everything in this universe is moving. This is a gift. It releases us from the anxiety of thinking the purpose is keeping everything together.

Maybe the purpose is to create beautiful brief things. And to be beautiful brief things. Like notes in a symphony.

I can’t understand how big the biggest things are or how small the smallest things are. But I can believe that the world is kaleidoscope weird. Magical telescopes show us magical things with magical names, like the Cosmic Cliffs of the Carina Nebula. But those cliffs exist only to us, in words we make up to describe how things look from our perspective. 

And that’s everything. I hold up my hand, look at the fingers, and realize it doesn’t really exist. It’s mostly empty space, like the Cosmic Cliffs of the Carina Nebula. Hand is just a word to describe how some space looks from my perspective. How many nebulae float deep deep deep inside my palm? 

What do I do with this information? What is everything really? Kaleidoscope weird.

Hallelujah! Mysteries to mine, games to play, and laughs to bounce off canyon walls in a cosmos like ours!

Mom, I know these are recycled ideas that I hammer together from whatever I grab around me, to make a boat that might keep me afloat as life’s river rushes ever onward.  

I often ask myself what to do with the feeling that nothing I think hasn’t already been thought, understood, and explained better. What do I do with the feeling that I can’t be original? 

Maybe I pretend it’s true to realize it’s impossible. 

A note in a symphony needn’t worry whether others sound similar. Without that note, played at that time, an entirely different symphony is created. Without me, this universe does not exist. I don’t need to try to be original. I am original.

Without you, there is no me.

For this moment I’m resting with a wise philosopher, “Life is prickles and goo. And it’s basically gooey prickles and prickly goo. But the gooey people are trying to make out that it’s only goo, and the prickly people are trying to make out that it’s only prickles.”

Happy birthday Mom. 

Love, Paul

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