NAIVE (and a trail walk)

 A Word Like Light: NAIVE

         The older I get – and I’m now 81 – the happier I am to know that I am utterly naive. When I was younger, I prided myself on increasing my knowledge – exploring the complexities of life and coming to all sorts of important understandings. I guess I felt like it was inevitable that I would eventually comprehend most of the meanings of life. It was as though life was an extremely complicated puzzle, but one that could eventually be solved by a person with a deep-thinking mind. Now, however, in these rousing senior days, a new and seemingly older sun has slowly risen and shown me the incredible beauty of what I can only call unsophistication. I see, in this new light, that I am as ingenuous as the gentle leaves swirling in the trees these days. Leaves don’t understand their lives. They simply sway and swing – and effortlessly fall when autumn comes, and more and more now, I’m swaying and swinging with satisfaction and innocence, trusting that life is leading me in perfect ways. Does that mean I’m living like an immature kid? Yes, perhaps – and proud of it, because when living things reach maturity they begin to die, and I feel, in a way, like I’m just starting to truly live, like I’m a naive 81-year-old kid, wide-eyed with wonder at what this universe performs every single second. Yes, there is death and destruction here and there around the world, but my naivety helps me also see the goodness and graciousness that’s literally everywhere. I’m thankful for my 81-year-old childlikeness. I do see the darkness, but, like a boy, I am awed by the stars shining above every darkness.


Today, Delycia and I took another refreshing hike on the trail at a Avery Farm Nature Preserve, and all I could feel was my astonishing good fortune at being able to do something like this it the age of 81. I felt youthful and spry as we walked, even when I had to occasionally pause on an upslope to catch my breath. The woods around me seemed to sing, in their winter silence, about the specialness of old age. Senior trees seemed to stand still in respect and esteem as we passed, and the far-off songs of birds sounded like praise to me. I definitely was a lucky old dude as we paced along with spirit. (Below are some scenes.)



Saturday, May 14, 2022

            When I was a boy, “search me” — meaning “I have no clue” — was a response I sometimes used when questioned about something, and I was thinking this morning that I could make it my personal slogan, since I honestly have no definite answers on almost any issue. I have occasionally enjoyed pretending I know the right answers, but the truth is, I could forage in my mind forever and still not be sure I’ve got the truth. All I usually find, in fact, is a formidable wilderness of possible answers, like wispy flakes moving by the millions through my mind. For me, life at age 80, is almost always fun, and sometimes fantastic, but that doesn’t mean I have answers. Actually, I’ve pretty much given up trying to find answers, and instead, I’m savoring the surprisingly charming world of my cluelessness. The sky above is immense, unsearchable, and beautiful, and so, I now see, is the universe of answers. Instead of searching, I’m just appreciating.


At 80, he feels blessed to be
naive again, like he's getting young
once more and feeling all the joy
of youthful obliviousness  The pleasant light
of naïveté has dawned on him
and often sends him out to walk around
the yard.  A neighbor sometimes sees him 
and decides life
must be a joy, if this old man can smile
outside in shorts even in wintertime.
The old man has come to see that life
is more mysterious than understandable,
more like a pleasant maze than something one
should try to understand and steer.
The neighbor who watches him smiles, too,
as though contented to be lost, like him, inside
a baffling web of cluelessness, as though
they're both enjoying the peace of knowing
how naive - and satisfied - they are.

Below are some scenes from our walk yesterday in Pequot Woods …