Happy to Be Here Now

Summit of Cascade. Archive Photo of the Day: Stuart Delman, Chestertown NY.

Summit of Cascade. Archive Photo of the Day: Stuart Delman, Chestertown NY.

It’s been a tough year to follow the obits, a tough year period. No sooner do I get my head around one human-shaped hole in the universe, than “another man done gone”—or woman.

Too much loss, too much worry, too much anger and fear: blessings hard to give thanks for. These things were on my mind last month as I was sitting in the library at Twitchell Lake Inn, reading the work of some older men who were also contemplating mortality and gratitude.

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving this week, I give thanks for that most basic of all blessings—for life.


Happy to Be Here Now

Beside this rustic lodge a glacial erratic rests, just short
of sliding down to the lake. On it, a plaque–
Earl Covey built this place. Lodge and boulder remain,
but Earl Covey? Gone since nineteen fifty-three. 

“There’s only one dualism that counts: Being and Non-Being,”
Gary Snyder said, “It’s all ecology otherwise; it’s all
interactions.” Being on the being end of the continuum
at this moment, dry and warm, I say, “Thanks, Earl. Nice work.” 

But not to keep. Gravity takes the long view – logs will lean,
the rooftree fall. The boulder will roll to the lake bottom,
which will in time silt in, sprout up into white birch. Meanwhile,
“Let’s go dancing while we’ve still got feet,” David Budbill said. 

He said of dead, “It’s back to the undifferentiated Tao with you.”
Now he can speak with authority. I say, “Thanks, David. Nice work.”
North of sixty is a surplus of memento mori. Asked “What about
age, sickness and death?” Snyder said, “Enjoy them while you can.” 

I climb up, beyond bonsai mountain ash at the timberline,
beyond fear, sentiment, to the mute anorthosite bulge of summit,
to one solid illusion of eternity in a kingdom of wind. There
I take off my hat to scratch at the scar where cancer once grew.

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7 Comments on “Happy to Be Here Now”

  1. Terry says:

    Well written, Dale!
    Happy Thanksgiving. We DO have a lot to be thankful for!

  2. Doug Cole says:

    Dale, Could not of been written any better. Having fought lung cancer as a non smoker for almost 9 years my medical team tells me there is nothing left to try! Having these passed years to enjoy I too am ready to be one with the soil. Cheers, Doug Cole

  3. Chris Coffin says:

    Hi Dale,

    I especially like “Asked “What about age, sickness and death?” Snyder said, “Enjoy them while you can.”” I see my peers as we age paying more attention to every day, savoring each, enjoying them while they can.

  4. Dale Hobson says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Doug. While I can’t say that I actually am ready, or will ever become so, I do take comfort from the brave examples that have come before me and the firm reminder to waste no moments one is given. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Dale Hobson

  5. Joey Duggan says:

    Great poem Dale, that last stanza is really powerful. Nothing keeps Mr. Hobson from the timberline.

  6. Ellen B says:

    Beautiful poem, Dale. Thank you.

  7. Ellen C Butz says:

    Thank you. I really needed that.

Comments are closed.