There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as between an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and it was a good lamp, but now it sheds light, too, and that is its real function. And love makes one more calm about many things, and so one is more fit for one's work. -Van GoghI think the worst condition of man is loneliness.
It is a terrible thing to be lonely, or worse, truly alone. No one goes crazy in general population. It's solitary that eats at your mind. Even the craziest of men, immured in stone, unable to get even a glimpse of the bright, blue tent of the sky, scratch at the walls to leave a message; to tell another that they were there.
I am not alone in this world, which is good, because I have a melancholy nature. I am married, and I have children to throw rolls over the table at one another. They are my name, scratched on the unyielding wall of the world, telling anyone that will bother to notice that I was here. My family makes me calm about many things.
It's Thanksgiving. I am separated by distance and other things from everyone except my wife and children. I do not know if I've ever understood the true nature of the holiday until recently, because to have plenty and to be able to gather together was fairly easy. People don't often appreciate things that come readily to hand. I'm a person.
We will have enough to eat, and sit in a warm room, laugh and wonder at the dogeared cards we have been dealt, and I'll try mightily to shed the light that is my true function, to make me more fit for my work. We will all pray over our plate like children. Thanksgiving is the only kind of prayer that you can be sure will work, because it faces backwards.
I tap on the wall of the Intertunnel, too. I often feel disconnected from my fellow passengers on this spinning rock, moreso each day. I wonder if some other inmate, some fellow traveler, might hear my tapping, and be braced by the thought of a fellow internee. I often hear tapping in return, and it refreshes me to carry on.
And so I offer this little word of thanks, and release it into the ether. I'm glad I'm not alone, and if you're reading this, you're not alone, either, and I'm glad to get a chance to leave a little something in the take a soul, leave a soul dish at the checkout counter of life.
[ Extra special Thanksgiving thanks goes out to Karen, Richard, Paul, Robert, Malcolm, David, Tracy Lynn, Victor, Caleb, Blake, Clare, Patrick, Andy, Mitchell, Eric, Francis, Sarah, Andrea, Julie, William, Kathleen, Nancy, Mary J, and a very generous stranger in New Jersey for not only tapping on the stone walls in our shared dungeon, but for bribing the guards into giving us a cake with a file in it.]
[Update: And Anh! Many thanks!]
[Continuing News Update: Many thanks to Karen M. from Calphalonia]
[Additional Gratitude Alert: Dale K in Washington. Mainey thanks!]