Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dead Men's Tales

This is the epilogue of The Pirates of Lobster Cove. I have been told it sounds like a commencement address and since it has no spoiler alerts for anyone who hasn't read the book, I present it here for all this graduation season. To everyone, good luck on your next adventure! (FYI: GREEN MEMORY occurs in the book as memories that have faded to the point that they don't seem real or can't be recalled. THE CYRKLE is the group of four heroes in the novel and DAMMEDS, well, they are nasty, hungry things that wouldn't be appropriate discussing here.)

Now I don’t want to get all L. Frank Baum on you with some Wizard of Oz moral. What I leave you with is this, once you find a home, be it where you sleep or where you summer with inseparable friends; live there.

In that classic book and film the Good Witch says ‘there’s no place like home’. It was all Technicolor pretty and lollipop sweet. Pay no attention to the terrifying flying monkeys, falling houses and chicks painted green. Take it all in and go along for the ride with every thread of your being invested in the outcome. Go too slow and the fantastic in life will fade. You’ll see the boom mike hovering in shot over a little girl marked for tragedy or the shadow of a set worker dangling from a rope backstage between papier-mâché trees.

There is really only one pirate, time itself. It holds in its possession the ultimate of treasures, the gift of memory. We emulate its piratical actions in hopes of capturing just one more to add to our collection. The pirate, time, is one tough adversary. As we grow older it takes the very gifts it has given, one memory at a time. Ah, but it can be beaten. Hold on to your few green memories that matter most. When you talk to the elderly, many stumble over the day to day but recall the highlights of their past vividly.

That’s the trick, tell your tale. The only thing that differentiates us from other animals is opposable thumbs, the ability to tell stories and free will. May your will allow the tale of your life to be told with your every breath.

May you all find your own Cyrkle. Soak up the sun while it shines and to quote Kurt Vonnegut, “wear sunscreen”. The Hallmark cards speak the truth; home is where the heart is. Not located north of the rib cage, a waiting dinner for dammeds, but where your passions lie. Oh… and stay out of the shadows no matter how much they beckon you to their home.

Think of this as Zen and the Art of Inner Pirate Maintenance. Time is but a fleeting thing, feathers dancing in the faraway. It is a vision let loose, a gull riding the wrath of a Nor’easter, motionless in midair. The turbulence feeds its bliss. The only way to beat this pirate of all pirates is to refute its very power over us; to cherish our past but live fearlessly in the present.

Live for the moment, live in it and don’t try to control where it may lead. Be an active witness and like a sea breeze over a fading sunset, its beauty will take you places your mind can only dream. Be in that moment always.

I wait for the day when I look out over the new day given and get it. After this summer I may know more than most, but it comforts not. The only solace is in the faith that our efforts, however feeble, matter in the grandiose scheme of things. The end to all tales is always the same. All will pass despite good intentions.

Do may be better than try, but try ain’t bad when it’s all you’ve got. In the end it’s just the eternal battle between the devil and the deep blue me.

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