It will be the most important thing I’ve ever done.*
Artist Steve Dilworth describes his art thusly:
I have spent my life making ritual objects for a tribe that doesn’t exist.*
The most important thing he will ever do is to remove the top of a huge boulder on Harris as if it were a lid, bore out a shaft large enough to place his sculpture Hanging Figure,** replace the “lid,” and, some moss-replacing years later, all would be hidden.
I couldn’t avoid the unalloyed questions this posed:
What will be the most important thing I’ve ever done?
Am I prepared for this most important thing to be unknown to many?
They’re the kind of questions that come into view as you move towards this strange line in the sand called retirement.
As I was ruminating, I read some words from Maria Popova that pointed me win the direction I want to live:
against every choice of destruction, there is always the choice of creation; that against the extractionist, there is always the generative, against the exclusionary, always the inclusionary and the generous^.
Moments later, Austin Kleon would concur, writing:
Worry less about making a mark Worry more about leaving things better than you found them.^^
This helps me and my attention turns to what I must do rather than what I should:
I don’t know for sure what kind of flowers I’m planting with my days on this planet, but I intend to find out, and so should you.^^
Tom Hodginson’s friend John Moore says to his wife as she urges him to get out of bed:
I’ll get up when there’s something worth getting up for.*^
It makes me realise that I’ve messed up; I see how I’ve been making something I want to get up for every day and it gives me joy:
Joy tends to involve some transcendence of self. […] Joy often involves self-forgetting. […] We can help create happiness, but we are seized by joy. We are pleased by happiness, but we are transformed by joy.^*
David Brooks’ words help me to see how I find my true Self so that I may give it away: joy in the surrender of self.
(*Steve Dilworth, quoted in Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways.)
(**Sculpted from a human skeleton, seagrass, prepared calf-meat and organs, and horsehair.)
(^From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant Reads Audre Lorde’s Poem “The Bees.”)
(^^From Austin Kleon’s Keep Going.)
(*^John Moore, quoted in Tom Hodginson’s How to be Idle.)
(^*From David Brooks’ The Second Mountain.)