- Posted April 14, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
How the King did fall
Photo taken 10 years ago before my fall. Before my humbling. And then I was humbled 10 more times after that.
But I had it all figured out. The business was a success, no debt, 8 trips a year to the South Pacific. We would buy anything, any time, any where we wanted with no limits. We had health and the world was ours including an acreage in Hawaii and a private jet any time we wanted it.
But life has a way, when you try and arrange it, of making a mess of the best laid plans.
BSE in Canada's beef cattle fnished my business in 2003. Then the borders closed to our Canadian cattle exports. After that the global financial collpase cleaned out what investments I had. The great drought in Canada in 2009 destroyed what recovery there was in agriculture.
All the business stress brought on two heart attacks and two strokes. Though I was 181 lbs and fit and cycled 100 miles a week year round and hiked. My twin passions were volcano and underwater photography.
A team of 6 lady Doctors took me back to good health after 5 years. It's a story, no different and perhaps not as amazing as Mike and his Wausau Family ireport site.
So when I say that men are not the sum of their possessions, they are not the measure of our lives...I mean it. Some things we learn through blows. Truth comes by blows to quote Saul Bellow.
New Orleans, Fukushima, Alberta....tsunamis, quakes, floods, droughts, prairie fires. Seen and lived through it all. It's all been a thrill, a great ride. And I'm still learning.
All men and women are like puppies and kittens...they only open their eyes and begin to see at 55. One really knows nothing until they have 5 or 6 decades of experience under their belts. Then you begin to see and understand how life works.
But then again, what do I know? I'm still learning.
I have learned to give everything away...it's the only way to keep it forever. Age 1- 60: a time for taking in. Perhaps a book after that. A Book of Clouds. A book about ephemeralia, a book called "Changes". How fragile life is and health and all things human.
I studied Dr. Samuel Johnson's writings when I took my PH.D. courses. The finest long poem in the English language is "The Vanity of Human Wishes" and was written by the good Dr. I had no idea I would one day know the meaning of every word in the poem.
I used to teach "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens. Until one has been humbled one does not know the meaning of words. As William Faulkner's heroine Addie Bundren said in "As I Lay Dying".... "Words are just a shape to fill a lack. They never get at what they're really tryin' to say."
Faulkner, Bellow and Johnson said it all.
Life is like a game of snakes and ladders. With incredible wins one day and catastrophic losses the next. And all the moments are not connected. Just strung out randomly over time. Please excuse any typos or grammatical mistakes. I rarely reread or proof my CNN ireports. My worry over commas, grammar and typos ended 30 years ago. I no longer have a morbid fascination with perfecting human speech, writing or commentary. I've thrown my fate to the wind.
Those wo know me know this story. Those who do not may perhaps take a lesson in life from what they have just read. But I profess to know nothing. I am content to just endure.