Jesse Gall

Archive for the ‘thoughts’ Category

The Siren

In thoughts on July 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

It has been quite some time since these fingers have ticked their taps on the white squares of the keyboard that sits in front of me. Life, as it so often does, has derailed the deeds of intended action with its surprises and necessities. We sit idly by and watch as the promises of yesterday become the memories of tomorrow, obstacles pile their plight while our backs get heavier. We slough our lives away bit by bit as more and more is required of us; even that which brings us joy – our writing or cooking or golfing or thinking – falls to the ground like leaves quickly forgetting the summer from whence they grew.

Forgive the poetic wax, but my candle burns a little dim these days. Harsh realities have collided with hopeful expectations, beating wishes, peppering them with bruises so colorful they change the body underneath. I hoped to write everyday. I hoped to be surprised by kindness and I hoped that good people should only receive good treatment. But hope can be the most elusive of sirens, calling us to sail towards the sweet song of peace and ease, before disappearing behind more untrodden paths and choices. She slips yet lingers, faintly smelling like perfection and something unrecognizable.

I could have been naive about such expectations. I could have been wrong for having hope. But that’s the thing about hope. It’s admirable. It stands true forever, urging us towards overcoming that which stops us from perfection, pushing just a little bit further, a little bit further. It encourages us remove the training wheels or take a leap or have a painful conversation. It molds us, turning us malleable and amorphous, into something we could only previously imagine. It teaches, instructing us from ahead but never leaving, if we’re lucky.

We must be sure not to abandon hope. It may be fickle and empty and it might lead us down a path of foolishness and irresponsibility, tainting the lens that covers the perspectives that cage our thoughts, leaving a puddle of doubt on the carpet of our considerations. It might misbehave. In fact, it will.

But to live with no hope – to see the world in an endless gray of disappointment and eternally met lowered expectations – is a fate worth no more than the material weight of hope itself. To face the onslaught of years without hope is to live a half-life, where happiness and unadulterated glee are the luggage forgotten on the side of the road. Nothing can lie ahead without hope, so cling to it and hold steadfastly through the turbulence of these trials and tribulations. Hold strong and tighten your grip; faith and hope remain. Sometimes, it’s all there is.

Until the end. the Mended Blend.

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“I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Leave”

In thoughts on June 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Photo Cred: Me!

The people who live in the mountain, one of whom (remaining anonymous) spoke to me recently, are unlike any other group of people in the world. They don’t just live on the land, they are a part of it, seeing the terrain as an invaluable member of their family, constantly overlooking its dwellers.

I spoke to a young man a few nights ago about the place in which he lived. Bearded and short, he puffed on a Black and Mild, his forehead wrinkled and weathered from thirty some odd years of a mountain life. He lifted his head, gazing at the stars like they were beautiful women. Perhaps to him they were.

“I’ve lived here for a long time. Long time. I don’t think I’ll ever leave. The mountains though, they’re like protection. Nothing gets through those mountains.”

He may have been speaking about the increasingly hateful weather that has blessed this planet of late, but something about the fear and reminiscent uncertainty in his eyes told me otherwise. The people are held close by the cliffs and valleys, hugged tightly. Separated by the geographical hand they have been dealt, these people are protected from some of the true terrors of the world. Yes gas prices may escalate and wars may wage, but those mountains remain staunch and consistent, a veritable wall of immortal incorruptibility.

It is easy to judge these people and call them sheltered and laugh, but what does that say about the culture we live in? ┬áThere is an unspoken acceptance for the judgment and alienation of rural cultures, which I find a little backwards: that an almost imperialistic prejudice should be thrown on a group of people who value living with little and appreciating the land they live in, while those of us who destroy and consume the most are lauded as the world’s elite. I’m not growing dreds or changing to a vegan diet, but as someone who tries to understand the perspective of people vastly different from myself, I can’t help but confront the values that dictate the society in which we live.

Less humorous today, but most times a thought is just as valuable as a laugh.

Until the end, the Mended Blend.

Exit Waiting and The Escape Code

In Humor, thoughts on June 18, 2011 at 11:52 am

There is one thing you can count on when you come to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge: you will wait in lines. Like sheep being herded off a mountain, people spend a majority of their time here just waiting. We wait with excitement for a roller coaster. We wait with wonder before the circus. We wait with frustration for the person in front of us at the buffet to step away from the macaroni and cheese we’ve been thinking about for four days. We wait and we accept that we wait. It is a part of life.

The tourism and attractions in Gatlinburg provide a main stage for the dance of waiting, putting it on display like a show. It’s unavoidable, seeing just how much we wait when you live in a town with filled with queue rails, riddled with traffic. But Jesse, what’s the big deal with lines? And haven’t we all read this column before? In about five hundred other places? What’s that you’re beating, Jesse? Is that a dead horse?

It might be, if I hadn’t gotten stuck in line for an hour and a half trying to get a trolley home from seeing the Elkmont fireflies. Fireflies are great and all, but, seriously, tectonic plates have moved faster than that line. Irritated at the Never Ending Line Of Glacial Speeds, I let my mind wander a little bit. Why was I so mad at this line? I just spent seven hours waiting in line to see the fireflies, and now I feel like I’d rather mulch in the rain than wait another hour. The logic didn’t make sense.

Could it be that the only thing we pursue with more vigilance than our own amusement, is a quick way to leave that amusement. Fans leave football games early to beat the traffic, despite waiting in line outside in the parking lot for hours. Throngs of people all pour out of venues, pushing each other rudely, all the time getting grumpier and grumpier, in the hopes to leave before everyone else. Valet was practically invented to fulfill this need.

Am I missing something? Does the person who leaves the earliest get a trophy or something? I don’t think so, otherwise I’d have at least two for the times I tried to go see Paul Haggis movies. Blech. But why, then, do we leave so rapidly and get so frazzled when we are forced into Exit Waiting.

Perhaps it’s in our human nature, to escape. Perhaps there is a code nestled in our cranial folds that forces us to flee as soon as we have satiated whatever particular thirst was tickling us in that moment. The Escape Code. We run from stadiums or blinking fireflies, and we do so with such vigor that any impetus results in flares of frustrations and rage. Unfortunately, the catch 22 is that the entertainment that draws that largest crowds also draws the largest exits.

There is only one way to avoid the horror of Exit Waiting. Be that guy who is always last to leave. People will think you’re annoying as gnats, but at least you’ll be happier.

Until the end, the Mended Blend