| Circa 1876 |

Recently I took up some Mark Twain; subject matter that nauseously bored me in my younger years, until now, left an impression on me.

An excerpt from “Old Times on the Mississippi” — a story of a boy with a desire to be a steamboatman & when given the opportunity to fulfill his dream he comes to the realization the work, hardship of the lifestyle & the knowledge required to accomplish Pilot status. He is mentored by Mr. B who, although seems gruff, takes him by the hand to show him the wonders of the water & the importance of knowledge behind every curve of the river, deciphering waves & reefs & ultimately “compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat”.

Despite his frustrations, self pity & yearning to give up he succeeds in learning the river, his perspective is changed through growth & over time he uncovers his passion.

Isn’t this so like our lives, no matter the trade we choose or stumble upon? We love it, we hate it, become discouraged by it, choose to work through it, learn from it, grow with it, maybe leave it or every so often uncover a passion within it.

“I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in, in a speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home. But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease noting the glories and the charms which the moon and the sun and the twilight wrought upon the river’s face; another day came when I ceased altogether to note them…

No, the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river. All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat. Since those days, I have pitied doctors from my heart. What does the lovely flush in a beauty’s cheek mean to a doctor but a “break” that ripples above some deadly disease? Are not all her visible charms sown thick with what are to him the signs and symbols of hidden decay?

Does he ever see her beauty at all, or doesn’t he simply view her professionally, and comment upon her unwholesome condition all to himself?

And doesn’t he sometimes wonder whether he has gained most or lost most by learning his trade?”

{Reflection} … What does our life mean? Where we invest our time, our energy — are we gaining or are we losing?


“Give everyday the chance to become the most beautiful of your life.” – Mark Twain

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