Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It fluttered, yellow...

It fluttered, yellow, just across my path, darted to touch me, fled as I twitched in surprise...

One moment I was caught in the mundane. The next, this other creature had jerked me from my stupor into a startled reverie. A flash of brilliant color and a touch on my finger... the day changed.

Just an instant in time, frozen now in memory, in the passing seconds of its happening an eternity of surprised contemplation: that of all the people in this butterfly's path, it landed for that fraction of a second on me. And then thrown out of my own considerations into a moment of marvel: at the pattern across the spiraling wings, at the wind-dance of green behind it, at the penetrating cerulean canvas this day has been painted on ever since the off-white curtain covering it was tugged away by the gentle hand of a golden sun. The air made me blink: it tasted clean, had a hint of a bite though it was warm, not so wet as the summer: fall in my nose and across my throat.

And then I walked on: plunged once more into insipidity. Stoplight ahead and cars flooding through it, crowd surrounding me, flurry of unceasing noise both external and internal, concrete beneath my feet. The background thrum of construction two streets removed, the vibrating echo of the jackhammer one down, the insistent murmur of the dozens on their way to or from class, the unceasing grind of gears in some machine, the dull roar of passing aircraft, the waxing and waning intensity of the swishing and humming of automobiles of every variety. A world of single colors - some bright, most dull - splashed in no particular pattern against a gray, black, and white backdrop which varies only in the distance between the cracks.

The contrast: striking, yet completely unnoticed and unnoted even in my stream of conscious thought. Two worlds coexist, so deeply intermingling and yet so utterly separate from one another: the one sublime, in every moment, the other - in which I nearly always walk - unrelenting almost unreal in its presentation of reality as we have made it.

Beauty is a fragile thing; and it is impossible to destroy: but not impossible to miss. Our perception of it hinges on the trivial, soaring in majestic flight the one moment and plunging to depths of obliviousness the very next, our minds captured by some detail one direction or the other. The transcendent transcends for a singular moment, is again vanished and mysterious the next.

Thoughts flicker hither and thither, dragged down into darkness or thrust up into dazzling light by a single alteration in the same event: test grade, conversation with girlfriend, job review, walk from lunch to dinner and interminable temporal distance between the two. Her frown, his smile, their approval - or not. Confusion at divine choices and befuddlement at mortal decisions. Splendor and tragedy painted on the same canvas and written on the same page - crossing paths and never seeing each other: certainly never realizing the ways in which the twain are one. The sky is bluer when spotted with majestic puffs of pearl. Air is never so wonderful to the lungs as after the rain.

Conversations propel us, thoughts impel us: always forward. Unceasingly unflinchingly unwittingly and all too often unconsciously. Reacting. Rarely acting. Tortured by our inability to control; tormented by our unbreakable grip. Basking in freedom and terribly bored. Loving our jobs and hating to do them.

Pausing? hardly...

Contemplating? rarely...

Meditating even the passing of a breath on the passing of a breath? ...never

We have a penchant for irony no less than for infinite self-distraction.

It fluttered, yellow, behind me into the trees. Forgotten.


  1. Like the previous commenter said...

    It reads very much like a poem.
    Colorfully and brilliantly worded.

  2. Brilliant.

    I've read this twice already ... two different days.

    My thoughts mingled with the brilliance of the piece are ones I've shared with you before ... the young woman you marry will be incredible, unique, and exceptional. It will take a young woman of great discernment and wisdom to appreciate the amazing beauty and excellence in your words which flow from the same in your heart and mind.

    Thank you for taking the time to write these out.

  3. Thanks, all. I appreciate the comments. :-)


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