Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Two Wonders

There are two basic concepts that baffle me-- concepts so fundamental to existence that their meaning should be obvious, but I don't think they ever will be. Not to me. The first one is the simple truth of Death. The departure of a soul from the flesh to which it was wedded- and particularly so when its departure unfolds slowly- is impossible for me to regard without wonder. It strikes me now like all the small discoveries of this earth struck me as a child- the veins in a leaf, the way a body passes through water. Our first and most fundamental nature is that of wonder and we regain that sensibility as we pass through different worlds or watch others do so.

The second is the nature of Time and the simple fact that it passes and as it does, we change. The strangeness of time is never more apparent than in moments when we are warned in advance that we will have to say goodbye to someone whom we have loved. The knowledge of a soul's imminent departure, whether it be from this life altogether or just from ours, inspires us to try to bend time, to try to spend every moment we can with the beloved, to shore up moments of togetherness to be our solace in the future loneliness we imagine for ourselves. Of course we cannot save even a second of the present for the future, for love only ever happens now, today. And yet it is almost instinctual to try to do so. If we enjoy the memory of those moments in the future, it is only as memory, and never as a moment which unfolds with the force of the present. In the present moment, we never know what will happen next; the act of living is deeply wedded to our abiding sense of anticipation. Memory is drained of anticipation; unless we have misunderstood and must therefore reassess it. Then it takes on new life. 

Death and Time are mysterious twins whose shadows lend to our days a sense of urgency. Their cast grows longer as the earth tilts away from the sun. They make of the earth a mirror for all that dwells upon it, their reflected image the obverse shape of their own coming darkness. They make us walk the earth in wonder. 

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