Tuesday, January 26, 2010


“To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom; and the best philosophy is to do one’s duties, to take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one’s lot, and bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is.”

~Horace Walpole.

Owls: older, wiser, larger, slower. There’s a whole lot of acceptance in that. Yet, I’ve always wondered, ‘What makes owls wise?’ Perhaps it’s that they don’t say much. They don’t appear in many, if any, fights. They sit there at night and intently watch and wait, it seems. We’re scarcely aware of their covert midnight missions.

The wisdom of life and all of learning comes necessarily to the above truth. We could very well picture The Right Honourable, The Earl of Orford, Horace Walpole, dying on his deathbed, reflecting over his 79 years and the life lessons he took in store. Boiling off all the extraneous fume of life, he’s left with a base fluid of philosophy—his very own cherished augury of wisdom—his life way and potion of method.

Enjoying the moment for what it is; doing what needs doing; being honestly happy, whatever. Is this wisdom?

Owls are noted for their perfected ability to fly pitch-darkened flight paths and execute planned tasks at their destinations, returning home safely with a minimum of fuss—and they do this with seemingly perfect, intuitive memory. Not much effort in the planning it seems!

Becoming owl wise is a fundamental shift toward the gentler-on-self-and-others life. It’s life at harmony as our observant nights give way to fresher mornings. It sees us fly straight in life; avoiding the distractions. We resist the fights, sidestepping where we can, not even coming close if at all possible. Self-condemnation debunked, such thoughts resisted. It’s the final corrective shooting us out of the cannon of immaturity to a far better land; one with crops of full grown appreciation and primary adjustment to what “is,” and horizons golden with the quietly confident glow of hope.

This is a worldly wisdom, enhanced—complemented as it were—by spiritual wisdom, a wisdom that sees us safely through the problematic tests of being. It’s skill in life.

We leave as we came. That’s the idea anyway. We respect, and seek not to disrupt, the delicate balance of the world. We protect it; even enhance it in our own invisible, non-contemptible ways.

If we can entertain a conception of God, perhaps we can entertain life and all its necessary possibilities—the limits to which there are none. God at the very centre of wisdom; can we see that? This goodness... it is God; him alone.

Accepting our place. Being here and being happy. Knowing only what we know yet being safely and securely satisfied. Doing a simple job well. No accolades sought and them same, wisely given. Peace pervading.

Owl wise is living agile as we live—a simplistic “liveable” agility in accord with Earl Walpole’s quote. It’s remembering the dark terrain; dealing with it. It’s executing a flight path with precision. It’s a job well done. It’s a process of learning; of living wisely; a lifelong experiment and a legacy left.

Happy in the muck of life: wisdom.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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