Thursday, March 08, 2007

Catching the Sun

Church bells rang in the distance. The rhythmic harmony of the chimes washed across my sunlit face, danced across the air and into my ears. The back of my head rested on my folded shirt. I had removed it to gather the sun’s heat across my chest. A light breeze had minimal effect on the warm surface of artificial grass that lay below my shoulders. Small beads of sweat rolled from the edges of my forehead as if to herald the coming spring.

The combination of warmth, blue sky and sunshine combined with the peacefulness of the bell tower’s chimes bathed me in one of those ‘everything is alright’ beautiful feelings that come along too rarely.

When those moments come for each of us its difficult sometimes to stay right in the moment, isn’t it? I managed nicely today to hang on and feel the warmth and peace of it all. It was a gentle workout day at the track. A day of stretching from the hard track work of yesterday, a few sit-ups and pushups combined with some gentle running on the grass.

When I was complete with my work, I went back to my previous horizontal position on the turf and began to think about the peaceful feeling that had washed over me. I also thought about my inability to hold onto the moment for as long as I wished. With equal perspiration I wondered about the origin of the feelings.

On the north end of the track two masters track athletes in their sixth and seventh decades of life completed their workout. On the south end of the artificial grass field young high school athletes stretched under the prodding of their middle aged coach.

I contemplated if the oldsters and the youngsters were possibly sharing in my fleeting moments of warmth and peace.

I think these moments are far too complex to analyze or describe in an easy manner, and certainly they are far too individual to personal circumstance to assign any quantitative analytical data. Instead, they are in my opinion moments of spirituality and understanding as unique to the individual as a fingerprint.

Some spiritualists teach that we must first dance with death before we can live. What they mean is that we must embrace the reality of death, coming to full grip with our own mortality, understanding that each day before the end beckons is a day of celebration. I have seen this in friends with a terminal illness. They come to understand in the final days of their lives how to truly be alive and love those that surround them. You have witnessed or heard of this phenomenon I am confident. Confronted with death, we come to understand the value of being fully alive. This is the ‘dance with death’ taught in many native belief systems. I have seen it at work and I hold it to be wise counsel.

There is another kind of being fully alive. It is the glory of childhood. It is the philosophical polar opposite of the ‘dance with death’. It is the absence of understanding that life has any path beyond play and discovery. It is the remarkable character of mind that we see in a child of 2 or 3 years. They are unassuming about consequence or need, fully alive in a God granted blissful ignorance of death and lack, living in the moment so soundly that even make-believe becomes real.

It occurred to me while lying on a warm turf football field, sun and blue sky overhead, excited chatter and laughter of surrounding athletes filling the air that I had surmised we come down to two possibilities for owning these fleeting moments of peace and understanding. We can be childlike or we can ritualistically ‘dance with the dead’.

Either way I stumbled across a handy and convenient truth; both are a choice freely exercised. There is also a sparkling paradox embedded within both ideas. Both choices are a form of being ‘born again’.

The church bells began to chime once again as I daydreamed in the sun.

An hour had passed.


Its valuable, especially when its so very real.


Enemy of the Republic said...

Oh, good. You posted. I was wondering how you were. I know in my case I had to lose 4 people plus have 2 close encounters with death before the word spiritual entered my brain. I wish I could state it as eloquently as you do right here. It makes me think of a post I wrote ages ago called The Heart is Fully Alive. I am glad, Seven, that you know about this. So many people do not and for a long time, I was one of them.

Seven said...

Hi Susan,
I'm OK, no problems. My only excuse (legitimate) is my current work load. Its good to be blessed with work, but I have been overwhelmed for the past week. I apologize for not getting by to see anyone and also hereby apologize to everyone reading for my absences.
I read your recent post on sexuality. I love the topic. I started writing a comment and just decided I had no idea where to begin or where I was going. More thought needed and then my phone rang again!!

Rick said...

Thanks for the moment. I know the sensation and I can recall it when I'm alone and at peace. I had almost exactly that moment near the end of my last meet, back when I was young an bulletproof. Lying in the sun, hearing starters' pistols in the background, wishing it would last just a little bit longer. Years later, I can recall a similar sensation experienced during oceanside sunsets, mountain sunrises... and the birth of my son.

kathi said...

A child also trusts that someone will be there to care, comfort and protect them. When we remember that we all have this as well, in our Father, we can regain some of that child like ability to enjoy what is around us and not let it be stolen from us by worries.

Seven said...

Mr. Leonard,
Good to see the feeling got from Texas to Seattle successfully. Its such a long distance..:p And I know that feeling of wishing it could last just a little longer.

Amen. Precisely where I was headed in subtle fashion. You zeroed in nicely. BTW, you have 3 blogs it appears...on which which should I concentrate?

Jenn said...

Something I really like about those moments is the memory of them. I can close my eyes and remember exactly how I felt during some of those moments....vividly.

I'm lucky because the childlike part comes easy to me...I think because of my daughter. Already though, I see her growing up and out of some of her innocence and it passes with some sadness in me. It's a fine balance...keeping her innocent but teaching her skills she'll need to cope.

Great post. It made me remember some of those times I've had. Thanks.

molly said...

I haven't commented in a long time but I continue to read here. I am a student of writing, attending a west coast college and I am drawn to your style. Sentences like this one:
"They are unassuming about consequence or need, fully alive in a God granted blissful ignorance of death and lack, living in the moment so soundly that even make-believe becomes real."
keep me coming back as much as the topics discussed. Keep writing Mr. Seven and I'll keep learning. Also, thanks :)

patti_cake said...

Peace out, Seven. Peace out. Great post and you make me want to lay down in a meadow of soft green grass and feel the warm sun on my body. Mmmmmmmmm........ sensuous.

Sideways Chica said...

Dear Seven...why is it so difficult to stay in the moment when the moment is good. I know plenty of people who stay in the moment when the moment is bad. Me? I try, as you do, to capture every drop of sunshine. Not always possible, but always worth the effort. Especially when successful. ;)

Wonderful imagery. Ciao for now...

~Deb said...

It's why a lot of people take life for granted. They haven't experienced a life altering situation that would threaten their morality. If we can appreciate the small things in life- like that beautiful description about your moment, or a good cup of coffee, watching a sunset or even just enjoying a peaceful moment to yourself, we can be sure to have more contentment. I know that life makes it too hectic sometimes to even notice these things.

Then there's those life altering changes that have us noticing more and more beautiful things.

Amazing post. Love the way your mind works!

Steve said...

Deeply satisfying. Thank you, Seven, for sharing these wonderful life moments.