personal, ruminations

The Joys of Life, the Moon, and Reading

Source: eye of einsteinMoon Sliver

Last Wednesday evening, as I got up from the computer, I looked out the window. There in the sky, fragile and held aloft by what seemed to be nothing was a sliver of the moon. The horizon I could see over the nearby houses was an enchanting shade of mild orange, which melted into a thin rainbow of yellow and green under a sky of beautifully darkening blue.

To improve the image, the trees, long since little more than needle-like lines in the sky, pointed up everywhere. And below, a thick layer of recently fallen snow made the evergreens look like the quintessence of winter.

Were I feeling vulnerable, I though, I might just have to shed a tear or two at this sight. A sight made all the more valuable because of all the times I know I’ve forgotten to look out the window and say “My God, it’s grand to be alive.”

It’s exceptionally easy to forget what a wonder life is, as we bustle from meetings to errands to television and bed. And it’s when we lose sight of these sights, that thin sliver of a moon held aloft over a perfectly darkening horizon, that we begin to stress about things unworthy of our care.

Getting a raise, or a Christmas bonus, are perhaps not trivial concerns. Making certain you’ve got a shelter for warmth, and food and water to keep you alive certainly are not. But when I stood there and looked at the moon, not a single thing in the world seemed to matter much at all.

Were I to have died, right then, right there, I would have been satisfied. Sure I haven’t accomplished all I’d like. I’m not confident that the world’s a better place than it would have been without me. But to know I got to fully enjoy that view of the moon over my horizon when no one else did was enough. And that can alway be enough.

It’s that feeling, that deep awareness of the importance of that moon over that horizon, that has inspired my undying love for both The Little Prince and the poems of William Stafford. Like no other writers, Saint ExupĂ©ry and Stafford seem aware of the amazing power that’s contained in watching the last flickering momemts of the sunset, as the thin moons floats aloft exactly where you want it to be.

Sharing that feeling of love and peace communicated by those men is perhaps the highest ambition of this man.

OPW, poetry

OPW: “Beside the Point”

Today’s “Other People’s Words” is a poem about what’s really important. It’s called “Beside the Point” by Stephen Cushman.

The sky has never won a prize.
The clouds have no careers.
The rainbow doesn’t say my work,
thank goodness.

The rock in the creek’s not so productive.
The mud on the bank’s not too pragmatic.
There’s nothing useful in the noise
the wind makes in the leaves.

Buck up now, my fellow superfluity,
and let’s both be of that worthless ilk,
self-indulgent as shooting stars,
self-absorbed as sunsets.

Who cares if we’re inconsequential?
At least we can revel, two good-for-nothings,
in our irrelevance; at least come and make
no difference with me.


The Yellowest Sun

Yesterday was the Fourth of July. Today, the Fifth of July, I’m remembering the best part of that Wednesday. And though it came around dusk, it was not fireworks. Loud man-made explosions are interesting, yes, but rarely so beautiful as the things we can’t control.

Yesterday, as it got toward dusk, cloud seemed to flood the sky. And though it looked a fair bit like rain, none fell.

But the colors you get on clouds over Colorado at sunset are truly breathtaking. Yesterday was no exception.

I stood outside on the driveway to see. To the far left the sky was a late afternoon shade of blue. A little to the right, the first clouds I could see were only a shade darker. But as we swept toward the middle of the frame, the sky hit a deep and vibrant purple. Purple of a color you love to see in the sky, where it clearly doesn’t belong.

Further on, the purple faded to a light shade of pink. Salmon colored.

Further on, as we got as far right as we could see, the sky was yellower than it’s ever been. And I say this knowing that the yellow of last night was oranger than most yellows, but brighter and more vibrant than I’d ever seen.

I felt certain, though I couldn’t see him, that behind these clouds the sun was smiling. He was smiling, content that he’d made something so beautiful. That the clouds had been there to help.

Such events can lead a man to ask questions. Who can I thank for this? How can I deserve this? Is someone making this? Is pollution making these colors so bright?

But mostly, it just leaves us rapt in awe. And there are few better states than that.

I assure you, Texas doesn’t come close.