This harebrained scheme of yours

For Orson, on the way

This harebrained scheme of yours:
Being born

Have you thought it through?
Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?
Have you made a list of pros and cons?

Well, here’s Grandpa’s list
And if you’re like me
You’ll want the bad news first:

1.      Let’s cut to the chase
Like the rest of us, you will die
Mortality’s part of the deal
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise
Pay attention to this little detail from the start
Even if the ending seems far off, improbable

2.      You will never be given a map
You will be a seeker
You will go where you are going
Without a compass
Getting lost is part of the arrangement
Like it or not

3.      Heavy lifting awaits you
You will have lots of genetic baggage to carry
Our species is still climbing down from the trees
Learning to walk on two legs
You will stumble
You will learn about getting up
By falling down

4.      The Earth will be your home
But you’ll never own it
Even your body won’t belong to you
You’ll rent like the rest of us
And you’ll be sorely tempted
Life long
To destroy it

And now (drum-roll)
And now (trumpets)
Here’s the good news:

1.      For the important things
Life’s default setting
Is mostly automatic
Breathing, growing, seeing, longing
Just happen
You won’t have to lift a finger
Piece of cake!

2.      You will be one of the lucky ones
Loved into loving
Flown into flying
Laughed into laughing
You will feel beyond your fingertips
See beyond your sight
You will accumulate great wealth
Giving yourself away

3.      You will be
An everyday Gandhi
A Conscientious Objector
To the war against life
To the destruction of the planet

4.      The Great Mysteries await you
And you will adore and unravel them
With art and science

5.      You will have the great honor
Of being no different
No better
Than your six billion blood brothers and sisters
Not much different, even
And certainly no better
Than firefly, elephant and night-blooming jasmine

Welcome now
Sweet one
Orson Benjamin
Welcome home!

-- Vancouver, October 28, 2010

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