Take A Moment, Read and Reflect

Jory Squibb checks in with this sobering essay. Read and reflect…

The Lone Wolf

Three things happened in my world recently….”a perfect storm” of….really….enforced reflection:

1. The Hopi elders, in their prophesy for the next millennium said: “ In order not to be torn apart by these turbulent times, we have to let go of the shore, (perhaps meaning our habitual behaviors?) and stay in the middle of the river. (perhaps enter the scary groundlessness of new patterns?) See who is there with us and celebrate! The time of the lone wolf is over.”

2. Bill and I were exploring Great Pond on skates prior to inviting everyone to come the next day….He wanted exploration X….I wanted Y…we agreed on X, but as we skated out of the launch, our paths were obviously diverging….damn it….i was going to do Y…Bill watched me skate off, exploring the curvy, open water lead, and disappear completely from view….when we came together a half hour later, Bill was lounging on the dock at the south end of Hoyt Island…..stonily silent….absolutely livid….”we agreed on a plan, he said. If you want to do scary shit, I can’t do things with you”….over the next days I pouted…hadn’t the tables been reversed an equal number of times?….and hadn’t we often done “scary shit” together?….how could he stand on high moral ground?

3. Trueman Moore, aged 20, was hiking two days ago with buddies in a park on the edge of Lake Megunticook. In the growing darkness, he wanted to take a shortcut across the ice to a lighted house. His buddies strongly discouraged him, but he set off, went thru the ice, and drowned. They could shout to him, as he slowly froze to death, but they couldn’t do anything…

When i go on the ice, i wear picks and flotation clothing…i’ve been intensively dealing with ice for 15 years….i’ve been through the ice 4 times, each with a successful self-rescue…why compare my situation with that of a 20 year old neophyte?….it’s completely different!…..right?

Wrong!….the reality doesn’t depend on fatality… we wolves are human…we’re not simply eaten by jackels when things go wrong…..we wolves are never ‘lone’…our behavor causes real suffering to others. Bill leans on the dock, fuming…angry, yes, but having spent a very fearful half-hour…fear for a friend’s safety….and the more complicated fear surrounding a possible rescue….my hasty self-justifications try to escape the real harm that i have caused…Trueman’s parents…incalculable…..deep…. lifetime suffering….his friends….complicated–even guilty–suffering. Trueman and I have both caused others to suffer.

Last night, i put aside the enticing evening activities, and sat, alone by the fire, as the quiet evening unspooled …the lone wolf… it’s a self-image I often come back to in bratty times, when i need justification for solitary behaviors. Is the lone wolf time truly over? Is our planetary history insisting that this pattern, useful perhaps in earlier times, is so out of synch with the interdependence, the deeper connectedness of people and things, that it is now inappropriate, and even disastrous?
i think of my greatest hero, Shackleton, revered more, perhaps, for his amazing care-taking of his men, than his actual Antarctic exploration. …and i feel ready….here a long, recurring sigh… with a few aftershocks and setbacks no doubt….to leave the comforting shore of lone wolf behavior, and celebrate with buddies a new pattern…. would it really be so awful?…to let go a little…perhaps with older age as an excuse…and to swim in the river of community?

Well said Jory- Please let’s keep Trueman and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

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