Well, it’s official. Now anything is possible. Pigs can fly. And the New Orleans Saints are going to the Superbowl.
Here are Emily’s thoughts on the subject.
#572, c. 1862
Delight — becomes pictorial —
When viewed through Pain —
More fair — because impossible
That any gain —
The Mountain — at a given distance —
In Amber — lies —
Approached — the Amber flits — a little —
And That’s — the Skies —
This poem came to hand last evening as I listened to the car horns honking all over the city, my neighbor Ivan shot his homemade cannon into the bayou, the street outside my house filled with the dazed and the dazzled, the long-suffering and now joyful. Last night before the game I said that I wasn’t sure what scared me more: That they might lose. Or that they might win. A loss to the Vikings would be crushing, but if the Saints won then they’d have go to the Superbowl. Then what if they lose that? The anxiety and pressure around this potential high point might kill us. It occurred to me that it might be easier to back off before we got there. Boy, I’m glad no one was really listening to me. Still, I have flutters of nerves around what comes next. The delicate balancing point here is to say that this victory, the step before the Superbowl, is both great and good enough. Even if they lose from here, the Saints have still shattered the curse that has been hanging over their heads for 43 years.
There is something a little frightening about reaching a long dreamed-of goal. A lot of responsibility comes with the joy, which is fragile and requires protection and vigilance so that the weight of ordinary circumstances does not snuff it out. When there is so much farther to fall after a dream dies, then it might seem better to strangle it in the cradle to get the disappointment over with early rather than later. After all, the pain of disappointment is more familiar and seems to fit better.
Consequently, many people choke when they find themselves within reach of what they said they wanted. It’s an understandable weakness. Yet, there is nothing sadder in the world than someone who backs down from his own joy. And nothing more noble than the one who steps in to claim it and love it.
Let’s savor this joy a little before succumbing to the old anxiety. Perhaps in these days, we can absorb a healing tincture from this new sense of what is possible. Sometimes just claiming happiness can change a person.