Friday, July 26, 2013

Lamp, Lifeboat, Or Ladder?

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat or a ladder.
Help someone’s soul heal.—Rumi
Which of those would I most like to be?  I guess I’ve already come out and said I take the side of light—so lamp it is, and lamp I choose. 

Often enough at work I feel like ladder, though, hunched over dutifully and durably so others can climb up to their success . . . (I’d say kicking me on the way, if I were feeling bitter.)

Lifeboat, too, would be a good thing.  Reminds me of the Zodiak I wrote into a poem about my father in his last days, riding out to shore from the little Sea Bird on which we were cruising the San Juan Islands and a Canadian fjord with oysters on its lip.

I don’t mean to disparage ladders.  I loved climbing several of them made of polished cottonwood up to the cave high on the cliff at Bandelier, in the canyon where thunderclouds gathered.  And in Paris during the bicentennial celebrations people had upended the traffic barricades and propped them against trees to climb up and see the parade.  But climbing is different than being climbed, and I’m too sore just now to like the image especially.

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