Thursday, May 17, 2012

one day in the summer

one day in the summer when i was very young, no older than five or six, i was out with my father on a lake in the late afternoon, close to sunset. the water shimmered on that lake in a unique way, in a way that gave it a visibly unique character. while i was playing with the water and talking, my father grew very quiet until I noticed that there were no responses to my child-thoughts. i remember looking at him and seeing a strange distant look in his face, and i think he said something like, “wow” or “my god” and i, amazed, wondered what he was looking at to cause him to be so shocked. i looked and looked in the direction he was staring but saw nothing unusual, until i began to realize in my own little way that he was awed into silence by the mere beauty of the world around him. it was the kind of silence that is done for things worthy of reverence. being a son at that age i thought him the wisest of men. i too looked out on the water and the land and felt an immense reverence for the world. i don’t think my father could have explained in words this sense of reverence, and i am glad i was present to witness it myself. what i learned inadvertently from my father is that the world is an awe-inspiring place even at its most ordinary. i am awed by the notion of so many people coming and going on this land or that land, of the connection of the present moment in a long strand of movements and experiences going back into the distance of the past, and that the land itself has its own stories. a kind of sacred memory.

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