This quote has come around to me a few times lately. Louis L’amour said it. “A good beginning makes a good end.”
I don’t know what the hell Lou was thinking when he said that. Maybe a ball of yarn? Or, or. I’m coming up with nothing here. But it is the worst dang quote I think I’ve ever heard.
I just don’t think it is true. It is certainly not necessarily so. And besides that. Ends to me, are mostly sad. You know, when you are reading a really great book that starts out great, the characters are tremendous, the story line is compelling. And then you get to the end. It might have a happy and amazing conclusion. But most of the time, I find myself “longing” to go on with the story. I’m sad it is over.
Or another example. A Snickers Bar. Pizza. Eggs and Bagels. Apple Strudel. They start out great, but who really loves the end of these things?
I’ve seen people drink a case of beer together. It starts out tremendously well. But. When they get to that 24th can, you would have thought Armageddon just opened up the heavens and delivered that catastrophic blow.
Then there are things like relationships. Marriages. I’ve watched plenty of very happy and untroubled couples exchange their “I Dos” at the altar, only to be parting ways sometime later in a very ugly divorce.
Great starts. Bad ends.
And then there is life. Yesterday, at 2 p.m., our cat Winnie had to be put to rest. She really wasn’t our cat any more. I got her when she was about 4 weeks old. Way back in 2000. She was a beautiful little creature. Calico. Bright eyed. Playful. Sweet. Pure joy.
Then she grew into her adult self. I think she had anxiety issues. And anger problems. We had her for a lot of years. With all sorts of other cats and dogs in our clan. But then Ollie-Dog showed up. Ollie the Tormentor of Felines. Ollie, Captor of Cats. Ollie chased Winnie. Relentlessly. So we had to make-shift our homes in Ohio, and Charleston, SC, into different safe-levels for cats, and dogs. It was wearing everyone out.
Then one day, our pal Sharon (Egri) sat us down and said, “Hey. What if I adopt your cats? They’d still be like yours, but they would live with me, and I would take care of them, and you could visit them, anytime, day or night?” Heck. Where do we sign? She took Winnie ( and Felix ) and made a home for them.
But here is the thing. They transformed. They became happy, amazing, loving, engaging, beautiful-being cats. They loved Sharon. In a snap. She loved them back. And Sharon has had them for probably nine or ten years now. Yesterday, my heart broke for her. She had to make the hard decision about Win, who was almost 19 years old. A good beginning. A very hard end. Sadness.
Life is in a constant state of change. All of it. All matter. From the smallest particle in the atom, to the magnificent and unending reaches of the Universe. Pulsating. Undulating. Moving. Changing.
So yes. Sometimes, the bad news is: Nothing lasts forever. Sometimes we have to experience the sadness, the longing, the pain. Heartbreak. Loss. Those very hard times when our good thing comes to an end. But then. Then. We have to remember that same phrase. Nothing lasts forever. Eventually, the days begin again. That pain will ease. The time will pass. And something new, and wonderful, will find us.
And that is how we go.
Oh, and that Louis L’amour. I think he writes Western novels. So, he could have been dropping Peyote at the time of that quote.
“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”
― Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
“A moment’s beginning ends in a moment”
― Munia Khan
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
― T.S. Eliot