Serene Confusion

In my lifetime, the word ‘confusion’ has always carried a negative connotation, as though it is something adverse and undesirable. However, I’ve been feeling a new friendliness toward the word since I recently found that it derives from the Latin word ‘confundere’, which means ‘mingle together’. The English verb ‘fuse’, meaning join or blend, comes from the same Latin root, and all of this helps me see that confusion can be thought of as simply the blending and mingling of things or situations or people – something that is not only not necessarily negative, but actually natural and almost nonstop in our universe. Literally everything is always mingling and blending, from electrons and atoms, to the cells in our bodies, to the air we all share and breathe, to winds and clouds across the skies like these, under which Delycia was paddling her kayak this morning. (I was lagging behind – with my camera.)

When lovers meet to make love, they blend in the most natural way, ‘fusing with’ each other – or ‘con-fusing’ – the way water molecules, we might say, ‘con-fuse’ with each other in rivers like the Wood River in Hopkinton, RI., where we were this morning. The mingling of two human bodies, the blending of ripples in rivers, the intermixing of words among friends –these are just some of the ways our universe is constantly ‘con-fusing’ – blending – all of its parts, and always with serene naturalness.  

       So … from now on, I hope I can truly love the constant confusion in my life – the intermingling of feelings and thoughts, pleasures and sorrows, successes and failures, lives and deaths. It’s how the universe has been swirling along for billions of years – in serene confusion, and taking lucky me along for the ride.    

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(Harrison P., 61, Blessings, CT)
He found his real self on a soft, 
affectionate afternoon in February, 
an afternoon that followed him around 
like it loved him and held him close.  
He could never see his real self clearly, 
never in his whole life, 
but lo, there it was this thoughtful afternoon, 
floating in a thorough but wayward way
as though it was thinking how wonderful 
all of life was, and when he 
saw it sashaying around, he said 
It’s my real self!
and he started 
to understand, at last, the largeness of life, 
including himself, how whole he was, 
how wide and helpful to all of life, 
and he let go and got a start, at least, 
at floating in a thorough but wayward way.  

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And here’s a slide show of scenes from this morning’s float …

And here’s an old dude taking a quick and cold dip after a hot paddle …

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