September Song

Photo by Jose Padua
When I was a kid in grade school
the teacher once made us repeat after her,
“The key to success is hard work.”
Years later, in college, another teacher told us,
“You have to work hard to get an A
and you have to work hard to get an F.”
One thing they never told you
was that sometimes you could make it
without any effort at all.
This you had to learn on your own.
And though it’s true
that most of the time
you have to slave away
to get anywhere,
the most beautiful moments
are those when you find yourself
in the right place at the right time,
or when, after doing something easy,
you find yourself suddenly
on top of the mountain.

It’s like when you’re at the racetrack
and you forget about the jockey,
the odds and past performance
and bet big on a horse
because you like its name,
and you go home with a hundred dollars
you didn’t have that morning.
It’s like wandering the streets aimlessly,
looking for nothing,
just walking like a zombie,
when you run into a friend
and end up drinking and laughing,
ready once again to look
at the world that surrounds you.

It’s the beauty of the moment
that comes alive without artifice,
the beauty of the mountain
that is built without industry
without business,
without blueprints and guidelines
and a right way
and a wrong way.

It’s the beauty of being human,
of not always making sense,
the beauty of falling and getting up
not because there are things to do,
but simply because you have fallen
too deeply into the realm of the possible,
and it’s time to do
what you were told
you couldn’t do
and you do it effortlessly
and easily high
and wide
and running on these
still golden days.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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