choosing your path


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What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden.

I started re-reading T.S. Eliots Four Quartets tonight, and this passage stood out as it usually does. Whether I agree or disagree with Eliot philosophically, I can't personally dispute the fact that he was a great writer, and at his best his language was vibrant and alive. With this passage, I thought about the losses I have known, those where I could have done more. This brought to mind my current relationship with my new wife and my love for her. It reminded me that I am in control of that path, and that I never want to look back with the memory of what I could have done. What is important to time future is the path that I DO walk down, and the doors that I DO open. I can consciously follow my values and make sure that we open many doors into many rose gardens. I wish the same rose gardens to all here, especially Kat and Michael.

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Jody,

I like it. I think Elliot captured well the wistfulness when thinking about missed opportunities. The the four imperfect rhymes at the beginning (been/been/end/...ent) cause a poignant kind of stress on the phrase "Footfalls echo in the memory." The echoes have been hinted at in sound. Even the "been" with "been" ties the two things together as one in the mind.

May we all have the courage to go to our rose gardens in life, not just think about going.

Carpe Diem - with great premises, too!

(Meaning go to the rose garden, not the sewer...)

Michael

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Jody, I paraphrase (paraphrase because I don't recall the precise words) this line of Oscar Wilde partly as a joke -- but not fully: "The only things we regret in life are the temptations we did not give in to."

There's an important moral to the story. We are often mistaken in avoiding the temptations that would take us from a given path.

Barbara

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There's an important moral to the story. We are often mistaken in avoiding the temptations that would take us from a given path.

Barbara

Barbara, long time ago I found a solution for this, I do not avoid temptations, I take them as they come, BUT, I remember to take along the people I love.

Ciro.

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Barbara,

I found your wording fascinating. You did not say, "We are often mistaken in avoiding the temptations that would take us to a given path."

You said, "... from a given path."

The path that leads to a prison maybe? Or to a sewer?

(Ciro - Loved ones in a tempting rose garden are a smile and a wink from a benevolent universe.)

Michael

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Barbara,

You are right. What I aim for though, and was speaking of was living a life in which I never look back and realize that what I thought was the pursuit of a great value was in reality a great sacrifice. To never regret those paths taken, nor those not taken: that is the path to traverse.

Though it can be difficult to do!

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Jody: "To never regret those paths taken, nor those not taken: that is the path to traverse. Though it can be difficult to do!"

Agreed. But even if we conclude that a particular path taken was a mistake, we may not regret it -- because of what we have learned from it. Often, I have learned more from mistaken paths than from those that were correct. If a choice was correct, I already understood why; if it was a mistake, I had not yet understood why it was mistaken.

Barbara

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  • 2 months later...

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question . . .

Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"

Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo. --t.s. eliot

I have a poet/writer/literature friend, and when we go out on adventures, he says, "Let us go then, you and I..."

I could just take this first part, from the rest of the poem, and run with it.

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Jenna-

Ha! I often quote that line as well when I want to get up and go. I have a cd recording of Eliot reading that poem. If you have never heard it read by him, snag a copy if you come across one. It's both phenomenal, and at times almost funny. When I quote the line, I always throw in my Eliot impersonation. "tiiime for you, and tiiime for me..."

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Barbara-

What a piquant observation from a simple line of poetry. 'Tis true. And the pleasure is even greater when we discover those half-deserted streets on our own during a leisurely walk through life.

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  • 3 weeks later...
"Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets. . . "

It is always the half-deserted streets that are the most interesting ones. And the most valuable.

Barbara, should you ever grow tired of what you're doing, know that with that attitude, you'll be welcomed with open arms into the scientific community. O:)

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"Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets. . . "

It is always the half-deserted streets that are the most interesting ones. And the most valuable.

Barbara, should you ever grow tired of what you're doing, know that with that attitude, you'll be welcomed with open arms into the scientific community. O:)

I'll second that!

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