How Important Is The Thing?
Sometimes I wonder — how important is the thing?
How important is the actual thing, compared to how the the thing makes us feel? So, really, what is important is the feelings that the thing brings up inside of us.
How we make others feel is so much more important than any type of logic.
I could write a hundred pages on why it makes sense to be selfish throughout your entire life but that doesn’t make it, in any sense, true. Even if I wrote the most beautiful sentences ever written.
The truth lies within the feeling, not the thing.
How long has it been, so many years, of absorbing myself into the natural world — as a chef, as a backpacker, as a landscaper, as a farmer, as a writer even. Utter absorption and absolute clarity — Nature is All — with the core conviction that humans are inherently flawed until finally, all these years later — these tattered bruised scarred tearful joyous years - that have filled me up like so much wine and confetti, meat and marrow, all these scattered careless years that I have stacked up one by one come tumbling down.
In a life — moments and days and weeks keep stacking up and up and up, finally reaching some sort of zenith in our mid years when we realize — oh shit we won’t be able to stack these up forever— and then.
And then they tumble down all around us. Huge messy Jenga blocks of time, shards of intense meaning that no-one else can ever feel, piercing sorrows and fierce joys that take away our breath.
And I stand, looking around at these blocks made of the raw cartilage of life, and realize that somehow — humanity, the ever flowing increasing rumbling story of our messy jumbled lives, in our essential chaos and beauty, somehow humanity has become more precious than anything my ideals could ever lobby for— the trees that told me all the secrets and the muddy ravines that whispered all those stories all still exist within the jumbled rubble of the toppled blocks, but what, in the end, remains upright in my personal and sacred stack of meaning?
And there in front of me are the blocks of all the beings that I have met in my journey, stronger than any assemblage of thought and idea that I had ever intently built to prop up a somewhat rickshaw but still deeply-functional sense of meaning. The strength and power and weakness and horror and joy and tears and touches of all those souls — all stacked up high like a tower that remains after a hurricane passes right through all other structures.
When I see that, when I feel that, that is when I know that I have found the underlying pillar of my being. I could feel it, like a backbone, before, but now it is pronounced, almost giddy in its realness.
So sharp, so focused, so absolutely heartbreaking, like the eyes of a newborn questing.
Grandfathers and puppies and friends and lovers and teachers — so many ghosts that haunt me now, a rich life not only because of the smell of pine duff in the morning sunlight but even more so because of the the smile that a loved one shone upon me as they handed me a steaming cup of hot coffee.
Whatever we think, whatever we imagine, holds our frail little lives together, whether it be the pursuit of fame, fortune, power, craft, or even unrequited love — in the end it is the endless and infinitely powerful connections that we make with every being that we meet on our journey that really weaves that web together, bound like a newborn in he matrix of the womb.