Hudson River Valley Special School
This Special Person spent the weekend hiking just outside of Beacon, New York. Walking amidst orange and red fall foliage, looking out from viewtops where you can see as far as the faded gray spires of Manhattan (which can look like Oz from that far away), taking turns re-enacting Dirty Dancing on a log crossing, and singing “Wade in the Water” loudly while approaching a tiny stream, you can almost forget to worry about how Special you are. You can start to enjoy two of the great joys in life–nature and good company.
But we are who we are. At one point, looking down onto the town of Beacon in the crook of the Hudson, with its buildings glowing moon-white even though it was mid- afternoon, I thought to myself, I’m not sure if I’m truly appreciating this. It’s only beautiful if I can appreciate it–if I can really, truly let it carry me along in the present moment. If I worry about the other stuff–photo op, next move, and mostly about why I’m not appreciating it as I should, it’s gone.
And this is why the line in “Hamlet,” “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so” is the most dangerous in all of literature. In one sense, it’s the most freeing. It allows those in terrible situations to overcome what they’re experiencing and find hope–I’m thinking of Malcolm X in jail, Anne Frank in the attic, and Daniel Day Lewis’ character in My Left Foot. Man that guy did lot with one foot! But it can also be one of the most oppressive concepts for Special people. When placed in a joyous situation–a kiss, the view down onto Beacon by the Hudson, the downfall of someone we loathe–the mind can out-think us. It can say, What’s so great about that? Why is that so wonderful-because it’s supposed to be? I’m the only one who can say it’s great, and, eh, I’m not feeling it. (Picture Larry David here as your mind)
For Special People, we have to learn to muzzle the mind in such times. That way, when something genuinely joyful is upon us, we don’t allow our mind to drain it away. The particular vista from above got away from me. But I must say, the singing on the mountain was a hell of a lot of fun. Tale that Special mind!