Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Days of Fatigue, Dreams of Succor

defatigable \De*fat"i*ga*ble\, a. [See Defatigate.] Capable of being wearied or tired out.

indefatigable \in-dih-FAT-ih-guh-bul\, adjective:
Incapable of being fatigued; not readily exhausted; untiring; unwearying; not yielding to fatigue.


For so many workers plying their trade and running in the proverbial race of the rats, fatigue is sadly the name of the game. As the world speeds up and the unrelenting pace leaves us in its dust, one would think that the ranks of the indefatigable must be exponentially decreasing.

When we turn twenty, Neil Young has reminded us for decades now that we must leave Sugar Mountain. The days of luxurious irresponsibility fade away, and the burdens of adulthood begin to work their magic on one's youthful vigor. Debt, work, career, relationships, ageing parents, children, health, one's own inexorable march towards death---the list itself can engender fatigue.

There are always those who seem to retain their youthful glow. Some people appear to find the way to remain energized, vigorous, athletic, pain-free, healthy and whole. What is their secret, we wonder? Is it genes? Diet? Attitude? Luck?

When I talk to friends and colleagues, fatigue is the overarching symptom which seems to embrace us all in these post-modern times. We are tired of working, of cleaning, of driving, of email, of shopping, of moving, of driving, of the media, of the war, of the violence, of the killing. There is just so much to be tired of, it seems. It's no wonder we're exhausted.

But what enlivens us? What drives us to our highest potential and success? What gives us energy and life? These are the places to take our tired minds and bodies, if only we could shake ourselves loose from our individual and collective lethargy long enough to contract those underdeveloped muscles of joy.

Here in New England, the seemingly relentless grip of winter can drive us to the brink of exhaustion. As the thermometer drops below zero this week, the windchill a veritable coup de grace upon our spirits, we bow our heads and grit our teeth, shoulders hunched against the cold. A sunny sky outside the window belies the bone-chilling cold waiting just beyond the panes of glass. It's days like this when hibernation looks so good. Emails from friends vacationing in Maui and Mexico do little to ease the pain. And when one thinks of the homeless, it is unfathomable.

We all need places where we can turn for sustenance, for succor. We all must find those places, be they within or without. We also need to know when the circumstances of our lives are only exacerbating our defatigability. I am walking those edges this week, skirting the abyss, looking for a place to rest my head. May you yourself find your place of rest, your fountain of succor. And if you want to share it with another, there's always enough to go around.
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