The Prettiest Damned Thing You Ever Saw


A tiny sweat bee on a Chicory flower in my backyard. Ain’t that something?

“Everything always works out for the best,” he said.

I can’t remember what I asked him about, but I’m sure I was seeking advice about something I considered an immanent catastrophe or a disaster in the making.  My father was being his usual easygoing self, relaxed, taking joy in simple things, each moment an opportunity to be real and solid.  The coffee in his cup, his threadbare undershirt and his favorite chair were his tea, saffron robes, and temple.  He was a Presbyterian on census forms and dog tags, and that’s what he’d say if you asked him to state his religion.  But in reality, and what he honestly didn’t realize, was that he was a down-home Taoist, a cornbread Confucius, a Buddha in boxer shorts.

“Maybe not in your lifetime, maybe not the way you want it to, but eventually everything always works out for the best.  How could it not?”

I looked back at him as if he was nuts.  Teenagers always look at parents as if they’re nuts.  But then people usually look at visionaries as if they’re nuts until said visionary is proven right.  And now, looking back, I see that the old man was once again on target.  I can’t even remember what had been worrying me so badly that day.  Whatever it was, it was inconsequential, and it worked itself out for the best on my timeline.  Win a few, lose a few.

I see now that we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got, from the invisible bacteria on my keyboard to the fish in the sea, from the squirrels in my backyard to the teeming billions aboard floating island Earth, from one end of the cosmos to the other.  Things eat other things, things make friends with other things, things mate with other things and create new things.  Stars are born, shine, grow old, and die.  We’re all making the best decisions we can, working the biggest puzzle you can imagine despite the fact that we can’t seem to put our hands on the stupid box.  Once in a while we fit a couple of pieces together and it feels good.  Other times life’s a jumbled mess.

Only an idiot blames the puzzle when nothing seems to fit.

My old man was right.  The secret is trusting that all the pieces are there and that, in the fullness of time, they’ll fit together into the prettiest damned thing you ever saw.

4 responses to “The Prettiest Damned Thing You Ever Saw

  1. Hi Robert, very well written. Regards, Phil

  2. Great to hear right now. Combines doing your best and not giving up with faith that somehow it will work out – i’ve been working on this lately, so it’s great to read you writing about it too. And as you point out, it may not actually work out for us as individuals, either; sometimes, we are born into that place where the flux hits chaos and it all goes to s@#t. Even then, we have to at least try to get in the flow. Who knows what lies on the other side? Thanks.

    • Robert Mitchell

      The flow…that’s a good way to express it. I like that! My perspective is shaped by the fact that my mother is fast approaching her date with the unknown beyond; meanwhile my grandkids are just stepping out of the beyond and into the adventures of their lives, into the flow. I think you have to have faith. Not faith in a myth, or in the promises of an ancient book, but faith in the grand beauty of the picture of the universe. We are standing too close to the painting to take it all in. And maybe that’s what death is: backing away so that it can all be seen and appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.