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The Flag on My Porch

It is all on schedule

BoardsBy Tom Owczarzak

I’ve been replacing a rotten deck this week. It is a pretty standard task in my world. Replacing rotten things. The fact of the matter is that nature wants to break down non-living things and return them to their cellular state. Once something stops growing, like wood, nature brings a variety of tools to bear to break it apart. Sun, rain, insects – all in the toolbox.

It provides a pretty serious level of job security.

So, when I am working on these projects, I think of myself as part of the toolbox as well. Although I have tools of destruction on my side that speed it up considerably. And like the other natural elements that work toward deterioration, I try to return the material to some form that can be re-used by nature.

I have taken almost every part of a house and re-purposed it into another part of another house a multitude of times. My last house was built almost entirely out of three other houses. Wood, tile, stone, even leftover paint have all been used with impunity.

And it usually makes me think about the cycle of things. How one thing turns into another which turns into another.

When I was teaching in college, I used to tell students that reincarnation was nothing more than composting. The various parts of us eventually become the parts of other things. And in that way, we are reborn thousands of times.

And these days I have been looking around the world at all the things that people are despairing about and thinking the same thing.

There is nothing in this universe that lasts forever. Nothing. Eventually, they will rot and deteriorate or just be worn down and need to be replaced. It is not a tragedy. It is life.

The Buddhists say that most of the grief in life comes from trying to hold on to these impermanent things. And when we can accept the impermanence then we can be freed from this endless cycle of sadness.

I kinda buy into the idea even if I still get attached to things. Not holding on to the people I love is a near impossible task. And their passing brings about tremendous suffering. But I do believe that everything passes and our relationship to that is life defining.

Sometimes I find myself wanting to broadcast some grand message to the world. To try to get a couple things across to everyone. And I mean everyone. Lately it has been this message. That there is nothing permanent in this world. And change is not a tragedy. It is natural.

That we can live our lives without the impending sense of doom or panic. That we can accept the change as it comes – even if we are attached to the things that are changing.

Basically, that all things, good or bad, pass. And, if we have faith, these things will come around again. Not in the exact same way but in some manner.

And, most importantly, that it all works out in the end. I believe that.

Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope you can find some acceptance for the things that change in your life today. Maybe it is something small or maybe it is ground-shaking. But it is all on schedule and part of the glorious ride called life. And if you are having trouble accepting it – that’s cool too. There’s room for that as well. It will all work out in the end either way.


Roberta L. Millstein

This is a beautiful essay and I appreciate it for the personal things in my life. But when it comes to climate change and the havoc it will wreak and has wreaked on the living things on this planet, I find it hard not to have an impending sense of doom or panic.

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