December 2, 2006
Since I met my new friend Larry a new wind is blowing. For years now I have constructed my bridge across forever. One idea at a time carefully inspected and shaped so that it would fit snugly into the expanding matrix. The bridge has grown strong in the face of a persisting southeasterly wind of bible thumping, irrational, fundamentalism. It has found the silver threads of reason that connect its ideas of cosmic evolution, nuclear physics and quantum mechanics strong and durable.
Last weekend we had a freak snowstorm. Not unusual for this part of the world for we usually have one or two a year, just to remind us that this is not California. But it was strange and unexpected to be immobilized by slush and ice in the middle of November. Having cheerfully navigated the treacherous highways of family gatherings all weekend I returned to the solitude of the cottage on Tuesday.
At the foot of the biggest and most majestic tree trunk, skirting the cedar deck that surrounds the south-west corner of the house, lay a tangled mess of branches like pickup sticks on a kitchen table. Some were draped over the railing, some impaled vertically into the ground planted like trees, some dangling from the edge of the roof where they had torn the eves trough from its mount. All were the size of my arm or bigger. All came from the north side of the tree.
The tree had stood comfortably for almost a hundred years, bracing itself against the winds as they shifted from the southeast to the southwest. Now a stiff north wind, snow and freezing temperatures had combined to snap its massive limbs like so many toothpicks.
Larry's direct but simple declaration that he was an Atheist has whipped up a steady northeasterly. I find it pushing and straining against the back side of my understanding of the universe. The roots of my cosmology have not yet grown strong on this side and I welcome the opportunity to field test the integrity of my bridge across forever.
It is all too easy to dismiss the existence of an energy force beyond human comprehension by challenging the validity of scriptures and ancient beliefs. These are often simplistic constructs, wrought with many flaws and contradictions, any one of which a rational mind can easily fold in upon itself. That same rational mind, basing its understanding on somatic as well as extra-somatic experiential information can also find itself in awe of events and knowledge that suggest there is more to life than breath alone.
Two sailors of the in the 1996 Vendee Globe lashed themselves to the rudder of their overturned open sixty foot sloop. They were pounded by the 50-foot waves of the freezing southern ocean for three nights and four days, surviving the chill of 60knot winds in blowing snow, before being rescued. Every seaman knows that just hours in the relative tranquility of the Bras d'Or lakes or Haro Strait, represents certain death from hypothermia and exhaustion. Its rationally impossible to survive one fifty foot waves let alone four nights of relentless hammering by that ocean.
Many stories are told of seemingly miraculous survival against impossible odds. Many others are told of an equally powerful determination to die. How many times has it been documented that a patient has been told they have so many days to live and then, like clockwork, they expire at the appointed time.
Years of asking 'why?' have brought me to this place in space and time. My experience of being personally present as Oma, my favorite "mütterlein", completed her transition from this earth, has only added to my matrix. Now, as I write the story of her adventures of life and spirit, I welcome these new winds. Anything worth believing is worth doubting. If it does not topple, my bridge will grow stronger with every gust.
Life is magical. As Carl Sagan has been quoted: "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." We are star-stuff with the opportunity to explore our origins like never before. Although my main focus is writing now, piecing together the complexity of a long life, my quest for knowing, for understanding, for exploring the essence of being, continues.
On a beam of light,
PS: If you want to spend a provocative 35 minutes, put on your headset, get your real-player software loaded and listen to this interview.
Copyright © 2006 by T.M.T. Enterprises. All rights reserved.