Part 56: The path least travelled (Part 33)
2008-01-10 15:47:01 -
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Continuing back on his journey through the timeline of his life, snuggled up in his sleeping blanket as the muffled snores of Prostremo drifted through from the tent beside him, Nunco remembered that birthday, the one when he got the penknife.

In his mind he could see the knife clearly now, and he realised how the glint of the handle reminded him of the ring the magpie dropped, which turned out to be Electra’s. It’s funny, he thought, how past and present can merge so instantaneously into the thoughts of now. 

The knife was a small gift (as a family they didn’t have much) but one which enabled him to have so much pleasure. That little knife – he could almost hear the sound of the blade as it sprang open from the protective handle – had been used in an uncountable number of ways. 

He remembered one of its first products – a sharp-pointed spear fashioned out of a stout piece of hazel from the nearby woods. Sometimes it’s the taking away from things, the separation of the unnecessary parts, that creates the perfect whole of what is left behind.

Not wishing to exaggerate his creative genius, Nunco couldn’t help thinking about the story of Michelangelo, who crafted the magnificent statue of David from a huge slab of marble that many other sculptors had passed on. When asked later about how he created something quite so magnificent, Michelangelo’s response was: ‘I didn’t create it, it was already there inside the marble. I just removed the pieces that weren’t a part of David.’

So how many unwanted pieces of baggage had Nunco carried through his life to reach this point, baggage that could have been discarded to make his load lighter, to help shape the person he really wanted to be?  He started to recognise some of the many other gifts that had been bestowed upon him.

How many great gifts do we have unused, that lie undiscovered by their owners as they trundle through life looking for answers.  Isn’t that the secret? Recognising what you have, and wanting what you have, rather than always wanting what you don’t have? So what was the difference that made the difference?

Continuing along his journey in his mind, Nunco remembered the time he started at university. Thousands of people hurrying around, shapes and movements with purpose, an extraordinary choreography of individual intent that was completely at one with the situation he was in. So many new faces, voices, styles, cultures and backgrounds – a melting pot of achievement in the making.

He couldn’t help but wonder when each of these people had decided that they wanted to do something special and continue their education in this great campus of learning. Were all these souls any different from the ones outside the walls and railings who might cast contemptuous glances inwards, and yet still do nothing about furthering their own lives?

One of the very first people Nunco met at university was the son of a taxi driver who had worked every hour that God gave him, while still at school, to earn enough money to supplement the scholarship he had gained through years of studious dedication. This person had showed that perseverence, passion and persistence could bring anyone closer to their dreams. He did it, and so could anyone else, thought Nunco.

Smiling in the darkness, Nunco looked over at where his friend Preteritus lay tossing and turning in a fitful attempt to sleep. However, while they were both in the same tent, their minds were in completely different places….

peter@3r.ie
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