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"The price of living might not be the soul, which seems pretty securely attached, but the spirit …"

I'm scheduled to be on an airplane morning after tomorrow and I already feel the pull. I have grown to despise flying. I suspect this feeling represents an intimation of encroaching old age, for I used to love to fly, even commuting to and from one job by air: down on Monday morning, back home Thursday or Friday night, but only for three years. Then, too, I'd retire somewhere on Sunday night and attempt to collect my spirit for the upcoming week, for flying discombobulates the spirit, even if one finds the experience uplifting, which I no longer do. I've long believed that the human spirit moves, through long tradition, at about the speed of a walking horse. Of course airplanes move a couple of orders of magnitude faster, which means that the spirit ends up chasing after the passenger until said passenger manages to sit still long enough for said spirit to catch up and reconnect. I'm reasonably certain that my spirit will be playing frantic catch-up until at least fifty years after I'm planted without this week's impending departure. I can feel the pull.

The pull comes from opposite directions.
One side pulls me forward while the other attempts and fails to anchor me down. I imagine my spirit speed-walking (seven point five miles per hour) somewhere between Pittsburgh and Omaha, trying to make up time lost on a transcontinental weekend jaunt to New York City in 1994 to introduce my second wife to Carnegie Hall, or stuck in a snowdrift in the Southern Rockies trying to make up for a series of business trips to Santa Fe a decade later. If I were a walking horse, I might have just laid down and surrendered by now, but my spirit only moves like a walking horse. It's apparently more spirited than any horse ever was. It still seems to complain when I schedule another jaunt by air.

I want to be there this week, but I also want to be here. When I'm here, there tugs and pulls enough to give me little respite. When I'm there, here tugs back. It's a wonder my spirit knows where to set his compass heading to reconnect with me. I'm reasonably certain that I do not know the proper setting myself. I might have been better had I been born in the Middle Ages, a time when well-traveled meant that one had trudged perhaps a hundred miles from their birthplace by the time they died. That walking horse of a spirit never had any difficulty keeping up with anybody then, and deficits of the kind commonly carried today were unknown, for even long-distance travelers riding on sailing ships hardly averaged the speed of a walking horse, and when they did, doldrums would compensate for any lead. It all averaged out in the end.

Now, we maintain raggedly open ends. Most of us will not have a chance of reconnecting with that plodding spirit before we leave this earthy plane, and can only hope (dare we pray?) that spirit and body might manage some sort of reunion in whatever amounts to a next life. Until then, we move like open vessels, one end wide open and vulnerable to whatever sneaks in to fill the spirit void we each seem to carry around with us. I get all maudlin and reflective before I depart, feeling a little guilty that I seem to be ditching some essential part of myself again. The price of living might not be the soul, which seems pretty securely attached, but the spirit, whose presence seems to wax and wane and sometimes complain that I'm not extending a decent chance for it to ever catch up to me again.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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