The first pause happened on my way to work this morning, about halfway down the four flights of stairs that I take to the parking lot. Rain fell on Central Virginia overnight, and had just cleared away by around 8 a.m. A single strand of dark cloud cut the sky in two, with fire burning from either side of it to bring heat to what would be a beautiful Autumn morning. The sight was absolutely breathtaking.
The second pause happened shortly after lunch. Significant wind gusts were at play, the kind that make your shirt sleeves flap briskly as though you were about to take flight. The sun was perfect, accentuating the beginnings of auburn, rust, and golden colors that are just beginning to insert themselves into the leaves of certain trees, moving repetitively back over the rolling hill-scape to the horizon. This was the sort of Autumn day that I actually don’t mind.
The third pause came this afternoon as I saw this. Is it just me, or does thinking of what we see in our spheres of activity during the day in comparison to something that astronomically massive really have a mind-blowing effect on perspective?
There was a fourth pause, immediately after that, as I stopped to connect the three. We’re catching a glimpse of this phenomenon of life, both from the ground up and from the sky down. And I don’t intend to use the word “phenomenon” in a flippant way, here…the rain, the clouds, the sky, the sunlight, the gargantuan ring circling the 6th planet in our solar system…that sort of perspective dwarfs our concept of huge.
I’ve become aware…and hopefully I’ll become more aware…of this pulse around us, this energy of sustained life. Not random collisions of atoms spinning us into existence, but intentional, breathing, life…the same sort of life I try to create in the fictional realm with words, and that the musician creates with sound, and that the painter creates with images…taking the life that was there and molding it into signs and symbols of itself.
That’s something that I don’t think we could do if we stopped being aware, stopped noticing, the life that is in motion, not only around us, but through us…life of which we are a part. Life that’s always, always worth more than possessions, or wealth, or productivity. The life of our environment and of us. Life of immeasurable value.
And then, I see how eager we are to take that life, both criminally…
…as well as in ways that are considered acceptable…
…and I hope that, if we take a few extra moments each day to appreciate life, that perhaps we would be more interested in giving it than in taking it.