On fire

Main Street bridge, Greenville

Pre-dawn view from the Main Street bridge. Nothing much happening yet, but it’s pretty.

There are days when life after 50 feels like waking up inside a well-appointed but not particularly interesting airport. The club room offers a nice view of other people’s planes taking off and landing. I overhear travelers talking about places they’ve been and places they’re going and I assume that I’m going someplace, too (I’m in an airport, after all), but where? Departing from which gate? When?

J. Michael tends the fireplace in Shelter #1 at Paris Mountain State Park.
Inside the Wyche Pavilion just before dawn. A mere shell of its former industrial self.

The busiest life can seem meaningless, I suppose, and the least productive one meaningful, depending on the light and the angle of view. Is there a correlation between number of projects undertaken or number of hearts touched and a sense of purpose? Is that sense a cause or an effect? Consider the lilies of the field.

I can tell you that splitting and stacking wood today felt meaningful, a good bit moreso than videography or design have lately. A friend and I will carry some of the wood to Paris Mountain State Park on Tuesday and we’ll build another fire in the hearth at Picnic Shelter #1. We’ll bring dinner and stare into the flame, saying little. I’ll declare myself a tiny speck on a giant rock hurtling through the vacuum of space. Good times.

When did I enter this doldrum of episodic contentment? A thing here, a thing there, but no overarching anything. Where’s the connective tissue? The golden thread of continuity?