Saturday, October 16, 2004

Walking the land

In his poem, Walking the land, Kevin Ireland writes:

and the useless baggage you have to dump
along the way is always the burden
you thought you had left behind

It is exquisitely painful to be reminded that the ‘baggage’ we were convinced we had dumped a ways back on the road of life has actually been travelling with us. On our backs the entire time. The spiteful squall we thought had become a gentle shower is plastering our perfectly groomed hair to our face in cold, wet rat tails. Looking in the mirror we see reflected back an image we had been only too pleased to forget. Well, there’s no chance of forgetting now.

I have asked myself why ‘baggage’ can be so elusive. Now you see it; now you don’t. What I am inclined to believe is that particular varieties of ‘baggage’ will only respond to specific situations. If such a situation fails to arise, the ‘baggage’ will fall into a type of hibernation mode. In that mode it becomes undetectable. We think it has disappeared. Or, more likely, we think we have outgrown it. Gotten too big for it. And perhaps, on occasion, that is true. We really have matured beyond the need for it.

I imagine that being repeatedly fooled by hibernating 'baggage' is more common than I allow myself to believe when berating myself for allowing it to happen again. Why can it be so very difficult to exercise generosity towards oneself? We are our own worst lover.


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