Choice can be a beautiful thing. Choose life and make it your own.

Who do you think you are, Mike?

It was late 96, in the fall, when the Clinton/Dole campaigns were fumbling and slushing through the republic.  I had a sticker on my main binder that said "Rush in 96", when I was one of the few rank and file Republican zealots that perversely lived like a fringe guy, but strove with the mainstream.  Hell, I'd even written school essays that defended progress.

Such was the contradiction of a man, that in the interest of observing freedoms, we rub elbows sometimes with some strange company: not dangerous people mind, but such far-flung.  It was to preserve the cause of liberty--this and nothing more.

They had asked about a 5 Year Plan, and I gave it some thought.  I found my own near future to be an obscurity, finishing high school with no prospects of much else, maybe getting a factory job around Cheraw.  My case for the universities was nil; no transportation, nor transportation funding.  I couldn't even get to the parking lot without some kind of financial help, much less pay tuition costs.

What I didn't realize then, was that blank palette of the imagination actually meant that I had a full set of choices to make, where I just instead made some suppositions based on past experience.

I mean, I couldn't even afford a quart of chocolate milk, much less college.  I had no car, and it was the old conundrum of no ride or job, so without one, you couldn't have the other.  It was object of fun to some, people who were simply handed, themselves, new cars and properties, laughing at those who had a different path, Fox News, not understanding anyone else's plight, not being able to appreciate anyone else's perspective.

But the point: I saw nothing ahead.  That meant there were no particular obligations, neither debts nor other hindrances.  Mornings, I put on my boots and smoked cigarettes.  I did both everyday.

I could create something of that utter blankness, in the same sense the Lord Almighty made the heavens and earth in six days.  In one second, I could have made a life-altering decision.  Even college.

As per liberty, I observe that Madison's defined factionalism is one group campaigning to deprive others of rights.  It sounds very much like today's broken set of choices given by DNC and GOP respectively, be it abortion, or education edicts, to deprive an alternative lifestyle, or to silence religion.  Rush, at one time, I thought was above all that, besides the political attack dog stuff.  The only free-thinking people, two outcast Democrats in today's Senate.

But of deciding one's life?  It's easy to give way to limitation, and also actually easy to decide the other way.  That's why, or part, perhaps, why it seems so foreboding to make such important choices, because how easily it is that everything could be wiped away, set to ruin.

One thing I never realized fully was the absolute power of not having an agenda, not being tied to a schedule.  Instead, I began more and more to set myself at a schedule, more and more to do those little things that made incremental changes.  Planted a tree, as such.  A little transplant from a wild seedling, about 17 years later, having survived fire, flood and drought, could only be destroyed by being dug-up by a backhoe.

It was nature; it was a full display of strength and permanence, that little tree.  Rescued from a ditchbank, that wild seedling, because I could afford to buy a sapling from a nursery, rescued in an put into a place of promenance; before it was removed by the big machine, it even gave my balding scalp some cool shade for several years.

That was power, I says.  It was "compounding".  It was a small investment, costing nothing but a few moments at one time, that provided a kind of dividend.  It grew into its own thing.

The rich passionato that digged up that tree of mine, he's dead now, and I would do him the courtesy, Mike Nietzsche, of not digging him up, but let a sleeping dog lie.  Tractors, the operating of the tractors, was his hobby, great fun to him to dig up that tree, and now he sleeps with the fishes, as the galaxy summons all eventually; nay, I won't dig him up to revenge my tree, for I still have it in my remembrances, as if it never left.

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A preliminary paraphrasing of "Walden or Life In The Woods".

It had sat, alone, a sort of untouched desolation of it, at various growths and dormancies, for ages.  Vines hanged from the pines, like dea...