Thursday, September 7, 2017

The rain, the owl, and other things


During the night, at about one-thirty, we were awakened by numerous bright flashes of lightning. This was accompanied by thunder, which sounded like a giant’s footsteps moving nearer and nearer from the east. Finally, enormous raindrops began pelting our bathroom skylight. But the rain lasted only a minute or two, and the night stayed smoky and humid and warm. Then, about two hours later, after dozing off and on in a state of pleasant delirium, I heard an owl hooting from one of the fir trees in our backyard. And I thought — or, rather, I think now — that whether they realize it or not, those who mock others’ beliefs are secretly afraid they might be true. Whereas, if we understand that it is self-defeating to define this life in the narrow terms dictated by our pain and our fear, and by our limited knowledge or lack thereof, then the very idea of possessing the truth evaporates in the dark just like last night’s owl. You know it was there, but you don’t try to hang onto it. You let it go and greet whatever is next with solemn joy and a feeling of gratitude that you are here.



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