Life's Inspirational Valiant Endeavors
~ "And they lived happily ever after!" ~
Let's see if I have this right. The prince wanders too far from the castle one night seeking good deeds to be done and a good time, inadvertently crossing paths with a witch of a woman (it's always a woman) that's just stumbled out of crazytown looking for a wayward prince she can undo (in the philosophical sense). Calling on her extensive knowledge of the black arts and the widely accepted truth that amphibians are a buzz kill in the bedroom, she promptly turns the young, impulsive, wet behind the ears prince into a toad. When asked why all the hostility, she grumbles, "...because, Dearie, I can."
Cue the dewey-eyed, virginal prin-cess: merciful, sincere and a free spirit. This trusting, but clever young thing too big for her britches, strays too far from the watchful eye of those who practice common sense (her royally wary parents) searching for true love in the form of anything-not-resembling-a-toad... and a good education.
The prin-cess falls head-over-heels for the toad.
The prince/de-cursed and reformed toad is humbled by his good luck.
They are wedded, bedded (in that order) and wake to a Whole New World where they all too soon stand facing the true meaning of marriage, parenthood... and, as is the way of the world and gravity, inevitably a mid-life crisis in the halls of an empty castle, no longer ripe with their own youthful, wide-eyed optimism and the sweet anarchy which their children so generously delivered. But, glory be, if their luck has held out, they still have each other and all is well enough.
The witch still creeps about wreaking havoc on unsuspecting travelers, and kids with candy . The murky depths of the swamp still shelters a toad or two. And dewey-eyed prin-cesses continue the search for themselves in fairy tales. Life goes on. The world still holds its place, inexplicably, in the universe. A moral can still be found in a good story.
"And they live happily ever after!"
Here's what boggles my mind, and disrupts my calm. The closer I inch toward the end of my life... Married: check. Babies: check. Empty castle: looming... the less infinite it becomes. (Why yes, I am married in my mid-forties with babies who are all grown up with one foot out the door. Why do you ask? )
People, please... for argument's sake: If any point in an infinite universe, whether real or imagined, is in fact the center of that universe, does the fact that I recognize my own mortality, in my shriveling womb, somehow explain why I no longer feel like the center of my own universe? And if so, why'd I have to go and have a mess of kids that are, ultimately, just going to fly the coop ( the castle, in which, I live ) with their little royal tail feathers dancing in the winds of their own storybook universes, following dreams of their own making in search of their own happy endings? Is this circle of life thing meant to leave us doomed-to-be-empty-mortgage holders floating aimlessly in one gigantic, but limited, universe wishing for our carefree toad and prin-cess days again... and not merely as the victims of the stereotypical characterization and plot?
|Like this one.|
"Mom," she asked, "what would you do if you were adopted by aliens?"
"I guess I'd ask 'em for a new spaceship," I answered. Why not, I thought. Isn't that what any prin-cess might ask for when presented with their new storybook alien parents?
She looked relieved. "So, you could come back to Earth then... anytime you wanted," she asked.
I realized then, of course, what she'd meant was "abducted". What would you do if you were abducted by aliens... not adopted. Not taken in by those who would give you your very own spaceship, dote on your every prin-cess need or whimsy, but rather those who might tear you from this world of castles and toads and fairy tale endings, thereby introducing you to real terror.
And... there it is. The answer to my question. The very meaning of life all wrapped up in a little girl/prin-cess poised, ever so delicately, in the center of her infinite universe on the very edge of reason.
Frightened by what tomorrow might bring, it is in our very nature to try to predict what may happen next week or next year or when we're old as dirt... as our light in this Great Big Universe passes on. Will evil ("the nasty old witch") reign? Will someone ("the strong and handsome prince") come to our rescue? Could I ("the equally strong and lovely prin-cess") summon the strength to rescue him right back? As children we are in constant motion, exercising our bodies and our senses, observing our world around us, asking questions... writing our own stories and our own endings.
How often I do find myself lost in a fairy tale of my own making, and asking this question... Is my life a comedy or a tragedy? Well, I guess I'd better get busy writing!
Peace My Friends
... and happy writing!
“The best way out is always through.”
~ Robert Frost