The Fall '99 collection is titled "Clouds, intervening". Sometimes, caught in the middle of the normal crises and changes that permeate life, I have these illusions of some earlier time, when people just got wiser and more profound as they got older. Back then, our best efforts brought permanent good to everyone around, life's truths were indestructible pillars, and lessons learned could be built upon year after year in our gradual climb toward shining, personal splendor. Wouldn't that have been nice? Who am I kidding?
So, maybe life moves in cycles, instead. I remember the sense of accomplishment my friends and I had at our High School graduation, having mastered the art of sliding through twelve years of classes without getting expelled. We were, without a doubt in our minds, the wisest and most resourceful of adults. It only took three months to find ourselves degraded to clumsy, ignorant freshmen again. So we mastered that, and had life securely by the tail. Not for long, though -- that got quickly fixed by entry-level jobs, career battles, relationships, and those other "real" life things. Decade after decade of getting a grip on life still teaches lessons: Dealing with growing children (I escaped that one, but hardly anyone else does), marriages, divorces, layoffs, career changes, technology-shock, and every kind of personal and cultural obsolescence. I firmly believe now that the mastery of anything is a transient and dynamic thing. Get good and comfortable in something, and you may still find yourself a shocked newcomer to whatever comes next around that blind corner of life. Those who make these transitions well tell me they've learned to enjoy their success for its transience, teaching themselves to enjoy the surprises and the learning of new lessons that never seem to stop.
Clouds, intervening's theme might well be that of
our continuous dispossession as humans -- even in all our efforts, time spent in the
sunshine of our successes is limited, so we have to deal with the cloudy interludes as
best as we can. But then, as much of a pain as this is sometimes, shouldn't there be
challenges and trials rather than complacency and stagnation? When all is said and done,
we measure ourselves by how well we deal with life's trials, not by how we manage our