Friday, September 21, 2007

Dreams of Ivory; "Never" as Second Best

The thing about remembered opportunity, even missed, is that it remains opportunity. One forgets that unrealized potential is the only kind there is--full of hope, still available for a daydream or two.

Harsh lesson today. Beside the trite "nothing ventured, nothing gained," I need to mount a reminder from the classics:

Dreams surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought to pass for mankind. For fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those which pass through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come to nought, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring true results when a mortal sees them.
--- Homer (800 BC - 700 BC), The Odyssey
I had a moment, frozen in time, that brought me smiles now and then, just to think of it, just to remember. It was like the rose beneath the glass dome in Beauty and the Beast, except that it never lost a petal. Tonight I lifted that dome. Bad call. The rose did more than wilt before my eyes. It somehow turned away, quite intentionally, leaving nothing but thorns faced my way.

If I had even thought that a possibility, I would simply have left it alone. I could have gone to my grave with more joy from the remembered potential than regret at never having acted. Reality robbed even the memory of its enchantment.

So, "now or never" has new meaning to me. Once the focus was all on now, a prod to action in the moment. Henceforth, the never will be equally laden, a reminder that, now having passed, never is a good second best, for some dreams won't bear assaying.