Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

The Long Winter

In Prose, Stories, secrets & dreams on February 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm


by Walter L. Schubert

Goethe said that for a man’s life to be successful it must be lived as an allegory. A beat poet of the ‘50s compared life to coasting down a hill, mindless of the fact that, eventually, the free ride will come to an end.

I do not see my life this way. Rather, looking back and looking ahead, I see life as a long winter journey. Every so often one sees a blade of dried grass or a nesting place under a shelter. For the most part one ought not to expect that life will be rosy. Doing so will breed complacency and vulnerability.

There are paths one might pursue to make the pain more tolerable. The stories of Greek antiquity have had much to say about this, but too I find that today’s “stories” are ascetic and unable to enjoy themselves during periods when we are blessed with plenty.

Yes, prayer has been practiced throughout the ages as a way to deal with hardship. But in a predominantly secular world, resorting to prayer can be misunderstood as an escape from what is popularly regarded as ‘reality.”

Some see hope and resignation as the only two ways to deal with difficulties. There is doubt as to what we ought to love, and whether resignation would be appropriate were we to learn that we had hoped for the wrong thing.

At the close of Die Winterreise, Franz Schubert’s lieder cycle about a long winter’s journey, the singer stumbles into the final passage of the cycle. What was it that sustained him for this trip? The answer: “Think not on my words, for words can always be used to tell a lie. Think instead about my music, for with music one can only say what is there.” It was only with my music that I told the truth.


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