1 of 2
Wall of Corn - Ron Marr
2 of 2
Ron Marr: mug
By Ron Marr
My house is surrounded on three sides by what I like to call “The Great Wall of Corn.” It’s roughly 7 feet high and about 100 acres deep at the time of this writing. Although some folks might find the idea of living on the promontory of a corn peninsula a trifle unsettling, perhaps hit with a wave of agricultural claustrophobia, I like it just fine. After many years spent deep in the woods and residing far away from the normal sights and sounds of modern society, The Great Wall of Corn is a comfort. It makes the move from the way back of the Ozarks to the rolling prairies near the Kansas border seem a little more familiar and peaceful. It’s the sort of privacy that puts an aging former hermit at ease.
It makes no difference that my impenetrable maze of maize will be long gone by the time this column sees publication. The field will have been harvested, the crop sold, those tall stalks cut to the ground and plowed under. The vistas will stretch long and deep, preparing for a winter nap. I like to think I’ve learned a few lessons during my (nearly) 53 years on this planet. The fact that nothing lasts forever, and that some things last but for a very short while, might be the most important.
Immerse yourself in the joy of what you have on those days when you have it; do not succumb to a regretful “what if” attitude or view missed opportunities with 20/20 hindsight. I’ve absorbed this inescapable rule in regard to people, dogs, places, attitudes, beliefs . . . and just about everything else. Appreciation of that which you cherish deeply—heck, even an appreciation of those things you find mildly pretty, funny, smart, or amusing—should never take a backseat to matters of less importance. Life is far too short for the type of self-recriminations that accompany the knowledge that you didn’t act, that you didn’t speak, that you didn’t feel, that you put off till tomorrow the gratitude for a simple wonder that might very likely vanish with the sunrise. A small miracle is still a miracle, after all. It is not something to be ignored, overlooked or taken lightly.
Don’t just smell the roses. Plant them, water them, sit yourself on the picnic bench with a glass of pink lemonade, and watch them grow. There is always time for such things, and a person is well served to ignore friends, family, employers, or social pressures that insist otherwise. Those who state that work and worry must always come first, that life must be primarily dour and serious, don’t really have a life. Those who believe that peace and happiness are luxuries, a treat to be sampled only after every task has been completed and double-checked, have it all backward.
Time is not of the essence. Time is the essence. It’s a limited currency, an account
that cannot be replenished. You’re going to lose it whether you use it or not. The secret lies in using it in a manner that produces the most laughs, the most smiles, the most kindness, and the most joy. I imagine such a philosophy is anathema to those whose lives revolve around racing rats, acquiring position, status, and wealth. It is likely seen as misguided and wrong, an insult to the frantic subset of conventional wisdom that convinces many to seek far more than they need. It runs counter to the assumption that humble bliss will bend to our schedule, that it will wait, that it arrives on demand.
The sight of the Great Wall of Corn, here but for a moment but wise in its swaying silence, tells me something completely different. It tells me that humble bliss travels with the wind, that it has no schedule, that it reserves its touch for those who seek it. It whispers that all can be gone in a fl ash, that even the most reasonable expectations are a denial of reality. It imparts the message that when tempted to run, we must strive to walk.
Night falls, and I am surrounded by 100 acres of green ears that hear nothing but symbolize all. They grow, they thrive, they weather whatever storms might come their way. And then, they are gone.
They’re not so different from us.