THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
Humans are very complicated beings.
Like pretty much everyone I know, I like to get my information quickly, even when it’s about other people. Often, I find myself looking at folks I don’t know and deciding that I understand them completely, based on how they carry themselves, how they talk, and, yes, how they look.
Invariably, if and when I get to know people better I find out I was wrong.
I discover that what’s on the surface is deceiving, and that there are sides to this particular man or that particular woman that I never could’ve imagined until I’d spent time with them. Until they’d become part of my life, and I part of theirs.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve figured them out. It just means I’m now aware of more sides. More depth. More complexity.
And, as a result, more mystery.
The human being who’s the biggest mystery to me is the one I should know best. The one I do know best…but still not well enough.
Yes, I’m talking about myself.
What brings this on are two dreams I had recently. The first was two nights ago. The second was last night. In some ways they were the same, but in others oh-so-very-different.
In the first dream I was at a Hollywood gala, mingling with the stars. A Network President came over to me and told me how glad he was that I was there. I knew this particular Network President years ago and the experience wasn’t as pleasant as it could’ve been, so his smile put me on guard. I waited for him to say or do something that would…well, that would wipe me out.
Instead, he offered me a job. “I want you to create and run a series for us,” he said. “Call my private number after the party and we’ll pin it down.”
As the Network President walked away, I felt a mixture of elation and fury.
My elation came from being invited back into the game I’d left in disgust about seven years ago.
My fury came from my feeling of elation.
“What’s wrong with you?” I asked myself. “Why get so excited when you know he’s probably lying? And why get so excited about something you’ve said time and time again you don’t want to do anymore?”
“Because I do want to do it. I didn’t know till now.”
In last night’s dream, Gwen the Beautiful and I were here in Paradise, driving to a nearby University where I was going back to school to get my Ph.D. in “practical stuff.”
I was going to study carpentry and plumbing and planting and animal husbandry and be the best farmer, gentleman or otherwise, Paradise had ever seen.
As we pulled into the University parking lot I felt a mixture of elation and puzzlement.
My elation came from the fact that I was about to spend several years learning what I wanted to know more than anything else in the world.
My bewilderment came from—that’s right—my feeling of elation.
“What’re you so happy about?” I asked myself. “You’re sixty-two years old and going to school. Instead of being the wise man you’re just another ignorant student face in someone else’s crowd.”
“Because I’m fine with not having to act like I know it all. I’m happy to learn. And, no, I didn’t know till now.”
Two different dreams. Both filling me with excitement. One bringing with it a case of rage, the other a pallet-full of bewilderment.
Both dreams coming from Larry B. Are they about my ambivalence about my life? Do they symbolize the duality of all human nature? Or have I missed something else?
I haven’t got a clue.
I may never have one.
Human nature is more complicated than most of us ever acknowledge. We love and we hate—the same things at the same time. We want this and we want that—completely different things—at the same time.
We love ourselves and we aggravate ourselves to pieces—at the same time.
Life’s easier when we can keep it simple. When we can say, “He’s this,” and, “She’s that.”
But I’m finding that it’s a whole lot richer and more challenging when I look at those around me and say, “I’ve got to keep searching for who we all really are.”
Mysteries exist to be worked at, even if they can’t be solved.