I heard silence this past weekend. I saw expansive spaces inhabited by no humans. I saw icy sculptures that nature had made glowing a luminescent blue. I breathed deeply. I was alternately terrified of the prospect that was in front of me and awed by it. Now I am only awed (and deeply hopeful). Annie Dillard, in all of her brilliance, wrote: "How we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives." I've been thinking a lot, as I consider how I want to move forward in my life, about how I want to spend my days, and where I want to place my attention. What I do know is that much of the man-made world is wasted on me.
If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News From Small-Town Alaska was my airplane read as I returned to the bay area Sunday. Heather Lende writes, "Wild places are reminders that the world doesn't revolve around us. It doesn't care about our little successes or smashing failures. The tides ebb and flow and the seasons change regardless of how we live or die" (p. 146). It is with this in mind, that I reframe how I want to move through my "little successes" or "smashing failures." I want to move through these in a landscape that alternately terrifies and awes me. I have done a good job of grounding myself in a space that occasionally terrifies, but rarely awes me, and I'm ready to see if awe and comfort can exist simultaneously in my life.
Friday night, I sang along, as Ruth Moody sang, "Life is long, love, life is long...we have time, love, we have time." And, Thomas Merton says, "Prayer may not be a conversation with God at all. Maybe it is listening to that light inside you." And maybe listening to that light inside each of us (whether we call it prayer or not) allows us to see all of the love and all of the time we have before us, while knowing that we are borrowing all of it, so we should probably go ahead and move toward what provides both sustenance and awe when we can.