|Self at Trevi Fountain, Rome, some nights ago!|
Anyway, I am writing these few lines from my family apartment in Isca Marina, a very small seaside town some ten kilometres south of Soverato in Calabria, Southern Italy. Being many miles from my home in Dublin, Ireland gives me some little more objectivity, if not insight, into beginnings and endings this the final day of 2010, that is December 31st of that Annus Domini.
What comes to mind is a story I would like to share with the readers of this blog. It is a traditional American Indian story with not a little insight and wisdom into life. Again I owe the thought of placing this story here both to a pupil I had the privilege of teaching last year and to the author of the above mentioned book. Both used this story in order to get things straight in their minds. With this background given, I hereby offer this story as one suitable for all of us as we end one year and begin another or as we end one task and begin another. As I’ve pointed out in my opening paragraph, every beginning and every ending are always against the background of our mortality.
One day an old American Indian chief was walking by the river with his grandson, thinking about what wisdom to impart to the boy, the living symbol of the future generations of his tribe. Finally he told the little boy that our human minds are similar to the river along whose bank they were walking: they were both ever-flowing. But within the water there were different currents, and likewise, said the old chief, there were different and contending currents within our human minds. Then, he used another image from nature to point out the complexity of the human mind – wolves. He continued that he himself, like all others, can sometimes feel two contending wolves in his mind – one is gentle and kind, and is a peace-seeker and a peace-maker, while the other one is angry and aggressive and is a hate-maker and a war-maker. The little boy listened and nodded his assent to these words from the old man’s mouth. Finally, as the story goes, the young grandson looked at the old chief and asked the obvious question: “Who will win, Grandfather?” The old man replied wisely: “The wolf that I feed!”
New Year’s Wish:
So my New Year’s wish for my readers is simple. May you have the strength of mind and the wisdom to feed the gentle and kind wolf within you over the coming year. Auguri tutti e felice anno nuovo da Isca Marina, Calabria, Italia.