Roger Marolt: It’s what we talk to ourselves about when it is quiet
The thing about getting older that consistently amazes me is that, although various body parts fail, break and wear out, no matter how much more frequently daily aches and pains are increasing in quantity and quality, and even as my memory seems more and more reprogrammed to send incoming messages directly to the trash bin where they will be automatically deleted or so thoroughly mixed with cerebral spam that I will never find them again, I still feel inside like the same person I was when I was a boy. It is a feeling filled with hope.
I don’t think it is uncommon to feel like we are each forever young in a body that is in steady and demonstrable decline. My guess is that everyone feels this way. If so, that would be quite a universal coincidence.
Skiing is over for now. The busy season of work has come to an end. Outside activities are limited on both edges of the equinox. Human existence seems deeper and more purposeful when there is not an endless obstacle course of interlocking hoops to jump through when not crawling below the nonstop firing of hoopla just above ground level. It is quiet. We notice the shade of a tree over a park bench that is inviting. It is the perfect time to think.
I have learned a few things in almost six decades of living. Every day I recognize more and more that I haven’t been able to figure out and probably never will. This, I can finally admit, may be the most valuable element of learning and, paradoxically, seems to expand my base of knowledge. My reasoning is stronger, hopefully my wisdom is deeper, but otherwise I feel the same inside, like I was born with these things and life is an exercise to prove them rather than discover them.
This sense of being forever young inside is proof enough to me that I have a soul. You can call it whatever you like — your essence, spirit, energy, heart, vibe — because it is all the same thing. It is your voice that no one else can hear that is clearer to you than all others, even in your dreams. It was the inspiration for the creation of Jiminy Cricket. I hear the words coming from it this moment as I type. It is not a crazy detached voice emanating from regions mysterious. It is the most familiar thing we know. It emanates from within. Hello, it is me waiting on the other line!
We call it a “feeling,” but that gives too much credit to the body. Yet, if we call it “intuition,” that gives too much credit to the brain. Scientists can’t measure it. Mystics can’t exercise it. Artists cannot paint it, and only answer it with the interpretation of a scene. Poets get closest to it, but that is because their craft is being profoundly obtuse.
Whatever it is, it is real. It is way more than the sum of our arms, legs, torso, head, brain and the oxygenated blood running through all our organs combined. And, yet, it is not tangible. This essence that is more ethereal than a thought cannot leak through our pores or escape when we open our mouths. We are inside of our bodies, but not attached to them.
At the root of it, this thing about us, that is us, since it is not physical, I don’t think really craves what our bodies and minds desire. While our bodies love the feel of supple leather seats in a smooth, fast car and our minds crave fortune, fame and material success, our souls couldn’t give two twits about that. I think this part of us only wants to love and be loved; two things neither the body nor the brain need to survive. Food, water and maybe a little exercise are the basics needed to sustain physical parts.
So, where, you may ask, am I going with all of this? Well, one thing I believe for certain is that our souls don’t die when our bodies finally give out once and for all. The physical is carbon-based matter, as temporary as dirt; that’s easy to prove. But, what would cause the intangible part of us to decay into nothing? And then, where does it end up after Earth and the stars pass away?
It is certainly a lot to think about, but the offseason has only just begun. I figure we have until Food & Wine to figure this out.
Roger Marolt hopes to be distracted by the Rockies getting back into contention soon. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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