Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Go Away

A note of warning: I wrote the following post the evening of our first day cruising the coast of Alaska. I was coming down with a head cold. I thought that I would have more access to wi-fi or 3G, but such was not the case ... or I was having too much fun doing other things and/or too laid up sick to pursue it. Regardless (or is it "irregardless?"), I wanted to share this with you, and promise to return to my regularly scheduled junk later this week. If you don't like today's post, I will fall back on the Jerry McGuire defense: It was just a mission statement.

How many things have you seen in your life that are, literally, so beautiful that they take your breath away?

Think about it a bit before you answer. Think about the things that you've been so lucky to see, or hear, or feel that were so magnificent that they literally stunned you, leaving you just standing there, agape in a flood of emotions that bordered on a visceral pain.

Now, who made those things?

Some of you are saying some great artist. Maybe you're thinking of Leonardo DaVinci and the Mona Lisa or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or perhaps Beethoven's Ninth or the first time you heard the Allman Brothers's “Dreams I'll Never See.” Some of you may be remembering the first time that you had real Key Lime Pie, or the way that your baby daughter's wispy smelled just after a bath on an early spring day.

For me, Man has had little or nothing to do with the really beautiful things that I've been lucky enough to see in this lifetime. They are things that just happened in Nature, on this incredible planet that we've all been so damned fortunate to be born on. Rainbows. A new budding plant. Tadpoles. The smell of the ocean. Wind. The calm of a deep forest. The high desert sky on a clear moonless night when the stars form a scintillating pixel river.



They happen every day, and sadly we so often let ourselves get wrapped up in our own foolishness that we let them slide past unbidden. It's a sin of omission.

I mention these things here because I've been so incredibly fortunate today to see a part of the world that is new to me. I was surrounded by a thousand other people on the same boat with me, and was surprised how few of them even noticed the glory of the planet we were sailing past. Peaks layered above ocean highlighted by curtains of cloud, with shafts of sunlight dappling green fields before sliding on to leave them gunmetal gray dim cold. Paired seabirds skimming by in the wind shadow of our 10-story hull, and then cutting hard over towards the better fishing on our windward side. A stiff breeze knocking foamy whitecaps off of long breakers, their backs ridged and rippling above silent stentorian rumbling.

Today, we were drowning in a flood of these things, but most of us were ignoring it. I only noticed it because they were new to me, and I slowed down a little bit to look around. Can you imagine being one of the people that actually live here?

Yeah, you can. Because, although you may not know it, you are one of those people, too. You live in a world of beauty, but it's probably become commonplace to you. Maybe you need to slow down a bit and look around, and quit wasting your time reading my blog.

Now get out of here. You're missing it.