Evaporate Into The Light

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Life
Tags: , , , , ,

The average looking girl, with her dirty blond hair in ponytail and harried face slips into the subway car and into her seat without anyone giving her notice.  She’s not participating in the collective consciousness of the riders.  She may as well not even be there.

At the next stop, a guy walks in, clad in jeans and ripped t-shirt.  The terrestrial horror of his multitude of pimples war with the rings in his nose and upper lip in their dance of pain, and it’s all the passengers can do not to stare.  His belligerent look causes them to look away, as his questing gaze scans the car.

His swiveled gaze stops once he sees the girl.


The girl looks up, her frown disappearing.   A shine glows in her eyes, as she erupts into a wide open smile and hops off her seat, to grab him in a hug.  For his part, the belligerence is gone and he grins down at her.

For a brief moment, the busy riders forget about their pressing appointments, their bills, the stressful presentations they have to give, and what they’re going to tell their wives about why they couldn’t go on holidays this year.  Instead, they see a couple living in a moment, unaware of the past or future, or troubles.   The display admonishes them about misplaced priorities. 

It is to be expected that, not long after the couple leave the car, those priorities and issues will come crashing back.  Some will pop anti-stress pills, otherwise will drown themselves in coffee, and still others will eat more fat-enhancing food, all in an effort to avoid feeling bad. 

The observant soul will notice that this scenario happens more often than not.  It is only evident to those who are aware and watchful.

One artist saw an abandoned house down in New Orleans and decided to experiment.  She took a piece of chalk and in bold letters wrote “BEFORE I DIE”.   And then she scratched out a whole wall of empty lines with the words “Before I die, I want to……..”.   Then she sat back and waited to see what people would do.

The artist’s instinct was dead-on.  Give people an open and unjudging chance to talk about themselves, and they’ll gladly oblige.  Some, even joyfully.

Many wrote jokes.  Most took the exercise seriously though.

Frankly, I was a little surprised to see one particular wish stated over and over.

“Before I die, I want to live”.

That wish makes me almost speechless.  An explosion of thoughts careen around, begging for release.

Why would they say that?  What’s stopping them?  Do they feel they’re not living now?  If so, why is that?

The persistent grinding poverty of desire and passion seems overwhelming.  People (including this writer) talk about The Machine as if it’s a sentient, purposeful, sadistic thing.  The Machine swallows dreamers whole, and spits out robotic uninterested (and therefore uninteresting) sheep who do their Master’s bidding.   The question comes up:  is it possible to dream and still be part of the system?

There aren’t any perfect answers to that one.  The dream is not the achievement is it?   Dreamers are often considered whiners, not content to appreciate what they have.  To a certain degree, that’s true of many of us.   Yet, those who dream often provoke change.  

You have to consider: maybe advancement isn’t possible without dreamers who consider what yet isn’t, and should be.

I dreamt of changes.  After years of playing the living martyr, content to put up with angst and depression until I died, confident that the hereafter would be my reward, I elected, finally, to escape the grind.   There was a severe financial and living conditions price to pay, which I thought about carefully before making my choice.   You know – the notion that I had a choice at all was pretty compelling.   After closing my eyes and pinching my nose shut, I jumped.

It was very hard, at first.   After a few years of plodding with mud-covered boots through a miasma of difficulties and obstacles, the dream stayed in front, smiling and encouraging.  Eventually, there was a point where the mud sloughed away, and the difficulties stayed behind.

Without The Dream, none of that would have happened.

Then I read a book.  And after reading it, another dream took shape.

This new dream  provoked even more change.   Travelling and sky-diving and acting the fool on a stage in a theatre and in a few bars happened.   Years of stress, and of biting my tongue, went away.  In their place came the smiles of youth.   My God this was good.

“Before I die, I want to live”

Amazing.   It’s personally frustrating to know that so many don’t feel they have options and choices, and that they must put up with *this* before they die.   The question for those who say they want to live is this:   “how long do you plan to wait before making that happen?”

Someone else wrote “Before I die, I want to be published”

Yeah, that’s my current dream.

But the dream that intrigues me most, the one that was written on the wall, without explanation, was this one:

“Before I die, I want to evaporate into the light.”

  1. wolfshades says:

    So tell me: if you were at that wall, and were invited to finish the sentence “before I die”, what would you write?


  2. Salacious Bee says:

    It’s strange. I thought I’d have glib, off-the-cuff answers, but when I began to type, my fingers became reluctant to admit I’d make addendums to that original “I want to live” statement. As you’ll see below, I quickly got over that reticence:

    Before I die, I want to live:

    out loud.
    without wondering “What if.”
    by taking life’s curve balls in stride.
    with confidence and the courage to try, try again; and without feeling the need to apologize for trying.
    without letting fear stand in my way.
    with random acts of kindness as a part of my daily routine.
    comfortably with myself, even if I’m not perfect.
    with imagination and creativity.
    happily, heartily and healthily…and say these three words in a row without tripping over my tongue.
    while firmly embracing the fact that I’m loved.


    • wolfshades says:

      I like that last one especially. Interesting how often and how easy it is to take it for granted.

      For me it comes down to:
      1) find a way to get off The Machine’s Wheel of Dependency
      2) get published
      3) allow someone into the fortress of (safe) solitude
      4) jump out of an airplane again and again until I’m proficient at it
      5) compose more songs
      5b) play with a band
      6) buy a homestead that is not a condo – so that I can play the piano with the band (see #5b) at all hours of the night – truly the only reason I want a fully-detached bungalow
      7) I lied. I want a bungalow so that I can have a barbeque now and then too.

      I want all this and more LONG before I die. In fact, dying has nothing to do with it, as I detest the very notion of death. Death never did me any favours, and has almost always been unwelcome. Death can kiss my majestic ass


  3. Carmen says:

    Before I die — I have no… Nothing to say.

    Hmmm…good stuff to think about though for sure. Thanks for the post. Loved the lead in . Sweet!


    • wolfshades says:

      Thanks Carmen. Yeah, the “die” part of the equation can be off-putting. Still, it’s the one the artist chose. Maybe if it had been my art, I’ve have put another way.

      If you could change your life and do anything in the world -anything at all – what would it be?

      It’s a trick question though. Because, whatever the answer, there would be a follow-up:

      “So why aren’t you doing that now?”


  4. Renee Davies says:

    This is thought-provoking. I wonder if there’s an unfortunate inclination in humans to live in a pack mentality. “I have to work like everyone else, to pay the bills. I have to have a very large house and I have to maintain appearances. What? My spouse is unhappy, I’m unhappy, the kids are unhappy? Well then, let’s just buy more stuff. But that’ll mean I have to work more hours and I’ll have little time to enjoy anything at all, least of all, my family.”

    I’m glad you were able to live in such a way that the “machine” wasn’t dictating to you how you should live, but rather that you were dictating to life how it should be lived.”


    • wolfshades says:

      Hi Renee.

      It really is a hard machine to get away from, isn’t it? There are still some things I would do “if only”. If only I didn’t have to pay bills to maintain my lifestyle.

      I’m working on it though. Sometimes there are ways to get past the Machine but it takes some diligence, investigation and often it boils down to perseverance and hard work.


  5. Abe's Blog says:

    We’ve both made that choice to make a drastic change. I wanted a happy life. And you know what? I’ve got it! 99% of the time, life is beautiful. The 1% is there to remind me how much I appreciate the 99.

    I still have goals and am pursuing them, but with the joy that I feel in the pursuit! The pursuit is the key. The goal is just that: the goal. But the process for getting there is so much fun.

    Still much further to go, but whether I get there or not, when I kick the bucket, I want a packed house at my funeral, with person after person giving testimony about the positve affect of my life on theirs. I’ve been thinking about my demise a lot these last couple of years. That is motivating me to step out, set up concerts to perform in, publish my CD, and just start DOING stuff! Especially things that can be documented via video or recorded sound. Those are for my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

    Great post, Wolf!


    • wolfshades says:

      Thanks Abe.

      Yes, I was a little surprised by the experiences we’ve seemed to have shared.

      I guess the theme here is exactly as you mentioned: to be in the moment, whether we’re talking about the process of getting to the goal, or the day of reaching the goal.

      The final paragraph you mention is intriguing. In my case, other than a desire not to be a burden to anyone after I’m gone (I’ve *enjoyed* one too many stressful funerals, where the loved ones get to enjoy the bureaucracy of it all, while distant friends eat and drink), I’ve made my wishes known: ashes only. If people want to party, that would be cool.

      But mostly I’m kind of hooked on the notion of living forever. :)


  6. ColinandCompany says:

    Before I die I want to spin!


    • wolfshades says:

      As in “spin around and around in spot” or “enjoy a spinning bicycle class” or…..?

      Maybe you don’t need to answer; maybe the answer can be left to the imagination of the reader. :)

      At any rate – glad you could join us here!


  7. izziedarling says:

    Hmmm … very thoughtful. Freedom is expensive, but worth every cent. Dreaming is free. Am currently in middle of finding my way, living it one day at a time. Fully as possible. :)


    • wolfshades says:

      That’s the one thought that gave me pause in writing this blog: the fact that none of this cheap. But then again, the dream for me began at a time when I was relatively poor, and couldn’t see a way to freedom.

      Once you do get free though, you *really* appreciate it.

      I wish you well on your current journey Izzie!


Leave a Reply to wolfshades Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s