Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The moon, nearing the horizon, was bright and huge. It was easy to survey the surrounding scenery, watching the silvery light spill across the swaying grasses and the trees stippled with new leaves. Not as bright as the sun, but still unusually brilliant, the moon made a slow dive towards the distant rise and fall of the neighboring ridges. An involuntarily shiver passed through me. The cold, clean light made the evening crispness all more pronounced, all the more icy.
I stood there for what seemed like a long time. I looked up at the moon and studied it. I felt extremely light, as if I could float away or melt into the shadows. I gazed deeply into the glowing orb and it felt, maybe, that I was looking inside myself. It was a mirror in the sky. I was reminded of a stories of deities who had swallowed the Universe and if you looked down their throats, you could see it celestially swirling. Perhaps the story was a metaphor meaning that everything one looks for, resides within?
I used to be scared of not knowing. Knowing what? The world... myself... everything. The lack of knowledge always seemed like an axe swinging overhead, threatening to fall. When I was younger, I tried to craft an outward appearance of an indisputable expert, someone who was self-aware and had some kind of secret insight. But as time goes on, I've realized that the whole of human experience is an ever-changing ocean. The distant shores, explored one day, could be swept up and away and reformed somewhere else in the likeness of someplace else. I used to be scared of not knowing. Secretly, maybe not so secretly, I wanted to be someone. I wanted that person to be permanent and immutable. Inwardly, I was seeking sold ground. I think what I felt was what many young people felt... the search for identity.
As I settle into my life, not necessarily giving up, but letting go of who I thought I'd be and what I thought I used to know, I've come to be okay with the not knowing. I used to have nightmares about sitting in the middle of a classroom with a test in front of me and being filled with dread and panic because I didn't know any of the answers. I don't get those nightmares anymore. I've come to embrace that life is mysterious and full of wonder. If you knew everything, I imagine things would get quite dull. It's the little surprises and daily revelations that make life seem so sweet and rewarding. I've replaced my life goals of Being Somebody, with just Being. And in the process of letting go of that imagined self, I've set about replacing what lacks with what fills. If there's no solid ground, grow wings. Fly free and learn what you can learn, explore what you can find, and discover and rediscover each day.
Within each of us there may be a proverbial Universe, all the answers to all the questions, but there is so much more... there is the unexpected and the unknowable and that which we will become. That place – that is not really a place – is also populated with the afterimages of the people we might have become, had decisions been made differently or actions carried out otherwise. We are engines of possibility. I stood there in the dark, shivering. I stood there looking up at the moon, but also looking deep within.