Why does it take a Scare to remember gratitude? Why must we be made afraid in order to feel thankful, to appreciate? Are we designed to take everything for granted? Or is it because we live in a society where almost no one ever says “Enough, I don’t need more.” A culture where temptation and its henchman, the-need-to-belong, are Everywhere. Please don’t read this as the word of some total non-consumer, someone beyond temptation - it isn’t so.
My special temptation is beauty, and that too can be a trap - beauty is not always truth, truth is not always beautiful. If Keats had lived longer than 25 short years he might have learned that.
At my worse I see life as a clamor of strivings and searchings terminated by death, and therefore, why? A remnant of my existential college years, I think, when Sartre and Camus were my pole stars, and the charmed world of Paul Klee substituted for the one around me, which went by the title Empty.
I have never found a single spiritual universe and latched on, or a system of meaning that explains All - I have had to create meaning through experience, a pastiche of knowledge, understanding, inner work, and a patchwork quilt of dreams, teachings and tidings, like tide pools when the ocean, with all its clamor, recedes. Meaning like the pattern of mussel and starfish and anemone in loose sand, buried periodically under a red tide of anger or despair, shifting with ebb or flow. Meaning as elusive as deep as the undersea world.
It is so rich, this world. This life. And ultimately as simple as the pattern of light on the leaves above my deck. Once, in the Serengeti, we looked up at the myriad stars in an unelectrified dark sky, and realized this fantastic sky was the world of Homo Erectus, as revealed in Leakey’s nearby digs. We awoke to a crimson, silent dawn and knew that too was what early humans experienced. Dawn and stars. The world at its most basic - and complex - and how grateful we were to experience it.
Thank you Scare for bringing me there again - to gratitude.