“Talk low, talk slow and don’t say much.”
An image emerges: John Wayne and a young buck ride on their horses into “an unknown”. John Wayne, also known as “The Duke”, keeps his eyes on the trail looking for what is ahead, while speaking to the younger one, who … in The Duke’s thinking, he is responsible for. John Wayne, the mentor, wants to prepare the mentee for what is ahead … both in the immediate scenario and the long term journey.
Now, another image comes to mind of a dad, or a mentor, or both, walking with a younger one … a son, a mentee, a student … both attentive to each other: one teaching / modeling, and the other paying attention to what the younger knows is important, what will be remembered for the trails ahead.
I am immeasurably thankful for good men (the kind that are rare, who will always be remembered) who passed on some wisdom … not because they had to, but because they believed that this what needed to happen, and because I clearly needed to receive what they had to offer, for my own benefit. And, in the name of tension, I remember … as well … the times where I struggled along the way, encountering the unknown, seemingly alone with no one there at the time to teach me, to guide me.
“Tomorrow hopes we have learned
something from yesterday.”
My “young buck” status no longer applies, and I continue to grapple with what I call “ambivalence”. My own definition of ambivalence goes something like this:
“Ambivalence: the existence of two mutually exclusive emotions, thoughts, or concepts.”
I’ve made mistakes. And “the right thing to do” means: learning from those mistakes; choosing to live not in the past, but in the present with one eye on the future; and releasing any self contempt or bitterness about what has happened behind me. I want to take care of my horse. I want to listen well. I want to “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say much …”, in the words of The Duke.