"Your only obligation is to live and be happy." - Camus
Part ll: Further Explorations on the Trail
Here in the North Country at end of winter, endurance is the quality needed most of all. The snow, cold, and months of overcast skies and darkness conspire together, challenging us to rise again as we wait one more day for the spell to be broken by Spring.
Frankly, folks are depressed here in greater numbers; 'checking out' in one variation or another; flirting with the darkness, vulnerable and susceptible to its sway. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about when I say our endurance is tested daily. Camus' "only obligation - to live and be happy" is tested, also.
So, as I often do, I turn to my favorite text - the dictionary, and ask the oracle to define 'endurance' for me.
1) to carry on through despite hardships
2) to bear with tolerance
3) to continue in existence; to remain; to last.
Not an easy task, but a simple one: to carry; to bear; to continue.... Regardless, if you're looking at a long life ahead or have been told by some NOT-omnipotent human that you "have six months left to live," -- today's ability to endure, to remain, is a successful day.
Our obligation to be happy? First, one has to endure and from that ground we stand strong [or as strong as we are able] and aim our daily arrows at what might bring us some happiness - whatever it is our hearts find precious. What is your precious? Strengthen your bow arm, take aim and let your arrows fly....
With that in mind, I wanted to share with you this clip. It may seem long at almost eighteen minutes, but would I steer you wrong?! If at any point this past winter you've spent ANY time reflecting on "my life is soooo hard"; if you've spent one second questioning if all the hard work of facing one more day is within your capacity; if you've spent one dark moment thinking of alternatives to being 'here' - then this 18 minutes will be well-invested. Trust me.
I've watched this myself many times over the recent days since discovering it [thanks, Luis Alberto Urrea, www.luisurrea.com]. I'll let it speak for itself and just tell you that at 14 min. the screen will go black for a few seconds, but then continues and is well worth your last few minutes of attention. All I will say, is that from here on, whenever I think that my life is too hard, too challenging, when I question my ability to endure longer, I will remember the Touareg people of northern Africa, a tribe who unquestionably KNOW the definition of Endurance; and this group of musicians, Tinariwen, who have used music and the guitar as some of their arrows aimed "to live and be happy" beyond difficult circumstance.