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Choices Make Us "Us"

This piece was inspired by my friend Dean Fischer, who was ice fishing and noticed how peaceful and quiet it was on the frozen lake. It make me think about our choices and how nature is totally indifferent to them.

We are creatures defined by choices.

Animals live by instinct. They may make some choices, to be sure.

My cat chooses which lap to adorn with shedded fur.

But living on choices is part of being human.

People speak of the blessings and burden of choice.

Our parents chose (generally) to have us,

And we (generally) choose to accept that, even though it wasn’t our choice.

We choose sides and others choose the other side.

Ultimately, regardless of the side we choose,

We have no choice wherein nature is concerned.

Nature chooses not to care about our choices.

In fact, viruses, bacilli, fungi, cancers, and their ilk—

Are entirely indifferent to our choices,

Even though our choices may invite them.

After all, for every choice you make, there is a 50-percent chance it is a good one,

And a 50-percent chance that it is a bad one.

We can recover from most choices, but it is hard to undo them.

Even choosing not to make a choice is a choice.

However, many people say that you don’t make a choice,

As much as your choices make you. We often choose to tell others that they have made bad choices,

Or we can choose to keep our mouths shut.

We can choose what to believe and what to scorn,

And we can choose to not choose even these.

But why is choice such a part of being human?

Because against the backdrop of choosy humans

Stands the timeless and continuous world of choiceless changes.

Things that we have no choice in.

We can choose whom to love (or do we really?),

And hopefully others will choose to love us.

Winter will follow autumn, spring will follow winter,

And so on, nature not caring in the least about our petty choices.

Because nature knows that whatever we choose, nature wins.

Water will freeze when it is cold enough,

Snow will snow. Wind will blow.

Rain will fall. Bees will buzz around flowers.

Bears will sleep through winter.

And daffodils will pop up in spring.

Without any choice involved.

Nature scoffs at our puny choices and mocks our myopic pretenses..

If you doubt this, visit a cemetery.

Or watch the effects of tides and waves over time.

Humans choose to fight them and hold them back,

But they continue, regardless of choice.

Nature doesn’t comment on our choices.

Our choices may affect nature, but …

Nature ultimately wins.

I choose to be kind and choose celebrating others,

Because the other choices are intolerable not only to me,

But to others.

And those who choose to inflict unhappiness.

Do so because they are unhappy.

I have chosen happiness and the joy of knowing,

That there are beautiful things beyond my choice,

Other than my choosing to see them.

Choose the beautiful

And regardless of your choices

Beauty will see you through.

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