Work: What’s Left Behind When Life Has Moved On

Giant Springs

Giant Springs

“I always used to work hard. But I had no idea what hard work was until something changed in my mind… I don’t really know what it was. Maybe some sense that this whole enterprise is limited, that there was an end in sight… That you were really truly mortal.” Leonard Cohen

Photo: Taken at Giant Springs out of Great Falls Montana. Why this photo paired with this Cohen quotation? There’s something about running water that is analogous to life. It has a source and it flows on until, eventually, it merges into something more than itself–or, sometimes, it simply disappears somewhere: either way, running water is a moving force. Where you find it, it seems to have a place. The place remains but the water moves on. Lives, too, move on: some leave remnants–places, things, thoughts, memories–that can be returned to, others simply disappear without a trace.

M L S Baisch © 2016

LEONARD COHEN – DEAD AT 82

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen has passed from the earth. The great musician who was also part poet and part mystic. Did you know that he was a Buddhist monk?

 
In my own life, I am often reminded that I am a slow writer–not always, but often. I get the words on the page, and then I keep revising them. Always when the writing is best, the process seems to take longer. The thoughts become chiseled: more profound. The sentences get simpler over time, assume a cadence, a structure, a depth that evolves.
 
Well, Leonard Cohen was a decade writing the song Anthem.
 
Some things happen quickly and seem be just perfect the first time, but some things just can’t be rushed. I already knew that, but it was still a psychic gift to learn that about Cohen: nothing about life is meant to be rushed–perhaps especially one’s thoughts. Whatever else is art is, it’s about merging the mind with the soul; whether visual art, music, or poetry (all well-written literature seems to have a certain poetry about it).
 
Cohen’s words are best heard with their musical accompaniment, but they also stand alone:
 
From Anthem: “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
 
From Suzanne: “. . . look among the garbage and the flowers.”
 
From Hallelujah: “There’s a blaze of light In every word. It doesn’t matter which you heard. The holy or the broken Hallelujah”
 
Leonard Cohen’s words and his songs will be heard for a very long time, and his light will continue to seep through the cracks.
M L S Baisch
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