Never mind that I recently heard this in an ad for jeans. It’s timely nonetheless:
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light
but it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death
but you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
— Charles Bukowski (1996)
So much rings true of these words in this season, as Burning Man fades into memory, as the daylight slowly wanes, and we return to the reality of mainstream society.
Already, in subtle yet significant ways, I feel my life being clubbed into dank submission. The relentless march of time and the pressures it brings. The mountain of debt crushing my freedom. The hopelessness of politics. The death of the American Dream hanging in the air while the vultures feast on its carcass.
Yet there are ways out, and there isn’t just a light somewhere, but there are lights everywhere, if only you look for them. The more you learn to do it, the more light there will be. Burning Man turns out to be great practice. Nowhere else do I know myself, my life, better. Nowhere else are there such glimmers of light.
I found glimpses of ways out, this year, of higher callings and how they could come to fruition.
I’ve already returned to the realm of Zombies, the slaves to time and money that many become as if by necessity in our consumer society. Bukowski’s words are a poignant reminder to hold strong against this tide, to continue celebrating life, to keep watching for its unique opportunities, despite all that crumbles and fades in our midst.