I was once told: Remembering the past is easy, it’s remembering the future that’s difficult. Those words have haunted and challenged me for many years now, during which time I have struggled to come to terms with the gift of triple vision – of seeing the now, but always in the light and in the shadow of the then and the yet. There is no written guide passed down, passed along, merely stumbling along as best as possible hoping this technique is adequate, knowing that it is not. How is it that I arrive at these places of semi-understanding, quasi-comprehension out of my depth, facing the breadth of clear perception and shaded sight, opening like a giant maw of uncertainty before me? Questions unanswerable, barely asked as I move beyond the mist held past and toward the fog shrouded future.
Questions with no Answers
I have been reading a great many books lately that seem to be spinning around a theme, though to my conscious awareness in no way intentionally.
Books on: The Soul; The Self; Time; Quantum Physics; The Daemon; The Gods; Space and our place in it; Healing in its broadest sense to include Soul Wounds, the Mother Wound, Illness; Life and Death; Loss; Belonging; Becoming; Aging; Elderhood; Wild Life and Rewilding Life; History and Natural History; Sentience; Myth,Mythology and Mystery. To me these are all dealing with the same issues at a deep and profoundly basic level. They all are questioning the trajectory of movement and momentum Life and what shape it actually takes: linear, cyclical, circular, or some form we have no way currently to conceive in our three dimensionality. They are all asking questions about what it means to be human and animal, to be alive. Why we are here. Why is there a here at all. What’s it all about.
This is the stuff that has exercised philosophers and theologians, mystics and musers for millennia. This is the stuff of tortured prose and elegant poetry. This is the stuff worth thinking about, mulling over, pondering on a walk in the woods, when drifting off to sleep and in the drowsy groggy minutes upon waking in the morning.
There are no right answers here. There are perhaps better phrased answers and more or less convincing ones. But ultimately right ones? Sorry.
I have found this reading and the matters it has raised mind bending and soul expanding. It has taught me that what I was taught as a child was not the Truth, but one narrowly perceived and conceived version of truth as an originally small group of people understood and elaborated it. It is not my Truth any longer and certainly not The Truth in any sense of my current understanding nearly six and a half decades along on my present journey.
Nevertheless, I am awash in wonder. Knowing how things work from the isolated scientific perspective, another limited truth, has in no way made me less able to look at the night sky and think about all the galaxies and suns and planets out there resting and spinning and dancing in the darkness that is hidden from us during the day and that we flee from into artificial light during the night. It does not make me any less awe-struck when we found a frog in our garden a couple of days ago and moved it to a safer place, a small delicate creature with wondrous bulging eyes, and I wondered what it saw of or ‘thought’ of us. I live in a state of gratitude for birds and animal, the trees and flowers, the insects and ferns, the fronds and the flowers all around me.
At the same time, I worry about the loss of our current megafauna and our pollinators. I worry about the manipulation of our food sources, of being in a position where the only food available to us will be sterile, both unable to reproduce itself and so germ free that we never build up any resistance to what is out there surrounding us in our environment. I worry about the young people who never get to climb a tree or to paddle in the sea, or to bake a cake or whittle a spoon – all now considered too dangerous, potentially injury causing, life threatening.
That said, my worry never out paces nor overwhelms my wonder. My ability to wonder, to engage in wondering remains intact. I have no answers myself, none that encompass everything. Nor do I want one. Living with questions is not a bad thing; but having all the answers certainly would be. I remain restless. I remain curious. I continue to read which feeds my restless curiosity. I continue to write which is how I play with the ideas I read about and how I best assimilate them, it is how I frame a way to comprehend and apprehend my place in all the great swirling Mystery of Being.
Give me the questions any day, any night.
Do I exist?
If you refuse to acknowledge me,
does that mean I do not exist,
I have no worth or value
past or present in your life?
If I greet you and you ignore me,
does that mean what we shared,
all those years had no worth or value,
that our time together had no meaning?
If you grimace when you see me,
does that mean I am beneath contempt,
and my very being is somehow
offensive and hateful to you?
I do not understand,
I fail to see how a smile,
a simple act of kindness,
would despoil your grand new life,
unless it would fracture
your carefully placed notions
set around you now as a fortress
to keep at bay the fear,
to protect against the guilt,
to shield against the questions
and reality you have never faced
as you yielded to the temptations
of the flesh and for them abandoned
the intentions of the soul.