Out here, he warned, you should always be on the lookout for snakes by day, not that they will go out of their way to attack you, but stray into their territory and the Western Diamondback will give you a quick lesson in awareness. They hide among the scrub sage and in the arroyos, but you still walk for this kind of beauty demands your attention regardless. And at night, he added, don’t stray too far for the coyotes wander freely looking for rabbits and small game, and though you would be too large a meal, you’d still be worth a taste. You are in their home, after all.
We can sit for a time, and speak of our pains, how they cause us to stop and look inward while the world proceeds on it’s axis, in a slow march through time and space, and we share the anger and anguish of our too fallible bodies which time reclaims in slow progression.
We do not pause and cast eyes on the egrets, heron and ibis returning for the night as the retreating sun paints the clouds in colors known best to flames consuming all, to wings flapping as perches are taken adjusted, as conversations are continued while night settles slowly over the preserve, the birds marvel at how we allow ourselves to be absent from the simple beauty of the world that surrounds us.
My mother used to say, about most anything, “Stop, you’ve had your fill.” It was something she did by rote, dictated I was certain then, by some timer buried deep within her that brought forth the phrase like the beep of an oven timer to indicate whenever she was baking was certain to be just slightly underdone. I didn’t listen to her, of course, just paid the lip service of which children are the acknowledge masters. I still hear her voice echoing the phase as i walk through the park each morning stopping to gaze at whatever new has come into bloom, the patterns of the clouds over the hills to the south, the conversation of the birds who only think i don’t understand, but i never get my fill of the beauty before me.
He watched as the flame licked at the lip of the candle, the wax slowly conceding and falling in, forming the cradle on which the flame danced. He wondered how something as simple as a wax cylinder could have an inherent knowledge of beauty and simplicity and yet he stared at it certain the knowledge was there. He dared not put out the flame for he could not deprive the night of this momentary beauty when it’s love, the moon had chosen to retreat leaving the stars to mock their small, immature brother.
I saw the sun rise this morning over Mt. Hood, the glow that announced to the horizon its approach. There should be in the life of every man, every woman, that moment when seeing dawn lift, peel back the shroud from Mt. Hood causes the sudden intake of just that much extra breath that like the sky’s morning flame we are consumed by the moment.
The Royal Poinciana is in full bloom, its brilliant flame has led the sun to take jealous refuge in the clouds but we know not to be complacent.
Mother nature it is said, and we are loathe to argue, can be at times the most fickle of bitches and we suspect that it will not be long before she brings forth still another tropical storm, a tantrum in which the jacaranda’s beauty must cede to her repressed envy, scattered at our feet, a warning, perhaps, but nonetheless a moment of beauty that even nature cannot deny us.
It was sunrise, he was on the banks of the river, and he knew, in that moment that he would remember the scene, if not the name of the river, or where on its banks he was, that was of no consequence at all, only the beauty. When asked about it, he would say that it was an obscene beauty, although he knew people would question how anything obscene could be beautiful and anything truly beautiful could be obscene. He could not hope to explain this, but it was simply obscenely beautiful, if only for the few moments it took the sun to further erupt from the river. When he would describe it, and they would engage in a nervous twitter he would laugh, not a giggle, but the deep, oblivious laugh of the child.