Up at the hot springs

above the river racing

to the lake below.


Eve of Instruction

Here we are again, on the eve of a new year, and whole bunches of folks are writing down their resolutions for this coming year.  Not me, though.  Gave up on resolutions quite some time ago, mainly because I sort of forgot them the next day and could never find the notepad on which I wrote them down, if in fact I ever did write them down.  Instead, I am thinking about instructions for the year.  This small change in wording seems to help the year go a bit better, since there will never be a test to be sure that I did in fact understand the instructions and I can also decide that I really did not understand them anyway or even that the instructions were actually meant for someone else.  So it does seem to me that thinking about eves of instruction is far better than thinking about eves of resolutions and way, way better than eves of destruction (which eves of resolution seem to be, in my not-so-very-humble opinion), even though it is as easy to forget instructions as it is to forget resolutions (not so much destructions, though).

In any case, it has also occurred to me that one can begin a new year on any day that one chooses.  So, my instructions can start tomorrow, or on my birthday, or on the day I leave for vacation or on every day of the year, as long as I remember to create the instruction on the eve before.  This re-creation (isn’t that very much like recreation? and don’t we just love that?) allows for the escaping of the burden of previous instructions or whatevers.

Also, it helps to write in pencil and have an eraser handy on each eve.  Or a dog who can eat the page.

Imagine something.

So I was at my local this morning enjoying a cuppa, and one of my acquaintances dropped by my table to tell me his good news:  he finished the book he has been writing and his publisher loved it.  He was a banker, is now a writer of history in the area.  We chatted about his book for a bit, and I had a thought (clearly, my coffee was beginning to work).  He went off to speak with his usual group and I thought about my thought.

I used to end my classes each quarter by telling my class about Einstein’s statement:  “imagination is more important than knowledge”.  My students were seniors and about to graduate with their BA’s, and most were a bit shocked at what Einstein had said.  Wanted to know if they had wasted their four (or more) years of university.  No, said I, but what good is knowledge if you cannot imagine a use for it?

So, getting back to history.  My thought was this:  what were the people about whom my acquaintance was writing imagining?  What might be today had not those folks imagined some thing that led to current futures?  History is all about what people thought and hoped for and imagined, and as I also used to tell my students, history creates futures.

Which led me further:  what are we imagining now, and what futures are possible because of our imagining?  Are any of those futures places we would want to live in?  I think that when I was young I never gave any of this even a little bit of thought, so the then future in which I now live was made by others who imagined something, created a future.  And all the rest of the people also imagined things and those imaginings worked with others to create now.

Lennon had it right:  imagine.  Imagine something and share it.  Create a bright future.

P.S. Maybe I should give up coffee.  But then how would I see my dreams?