The Gospel According to this Moment
Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present….the gospel according to this moment. – Henry David Thoreau, Walking
Yesterday, I got out of bed already frazzled after a near-sleepless night. I remember looking at the clock at all kinds of odd times: 12:33, 12:47, 1:22, 2:03, 3:31, 4:00, 4:27, 4:59…. Morning coffee did not help me focus. It just warmed my fingers. The newspaper held stories of Nepal and surrounding areas, aftershocks, rubble, survivors who now needed to tend to the dead and injured. Baltimore seemed to hold its breath in the hours before Freddie Gray’s funeral. A photo of people gathered at Bergen-Belsen over the weekend emphasized a somber commemoration of their dead in black and white. So many stories, past and present, that told of suffering.
My mind could not stay with anything very long. These stories embedded themselves in my sleep-deprived brain such that any work I tried to get done just spun like a wheel in mud – no traction, no progress. Not the best thing for a Monday morning.
The only thing to do was take a walk. Shake off the stories colliding in my head. Be in the moment.
A walk in the woods was just the thing.
Emergent leaves caught midday sun.
A red-winged blackbird sang its heart out.
A sweet little bird held still for just a second.
Spent cattails offered their fluff.
A dead tree is eerily beautiful.
Two swallows’ blue feathers shimmer.
When, in doleful dumps, breaking the awful stillness of our wooden sidewalk on a Sunday, or, perchance, a watcher in the house of mourning, I hear a cockerel crow far or near, I think to myself, “there is one of us well, at any rate,” –and with a sudden gush return to my senses. – Henry David Thoreau, Walking
I did return to my senses on my walk. I felt so much better. And I wish that sense of comfort for others.
Let’s do what we can.