I know why we stop gazing…

and maybe it’s just common sense, but it really hit home to me in the last few mornings.  Sitting at my bus stop between 6:30 and 7, the clouds and the light have been insane.  It’s been like Kerouac and Michaelangelo had a baby, and they were these skies.  Now, in my grownup brain I know that it’s more due to this beastly hot weather and the fires ravaging the Middletown area.  But Friday morning was like cotton balls spilled out on your bathroom counter–if your bathroom counter was robin’s egg blue, the cotton balls were made of cotton candy, and the whole of it was lit with ten thousand dollar lights.  I spent the first half of the morning so confused that I was inside while that was happening outside.  Why were we willing to miss it?  Was it just me being hyperbolic as usual and hopped up on 5 Hour Energy?

And then this morning, same bus stop, different explosion of loveliness.  It was as if someone had taken a brush to the clouds and swished them around like the rays that usually come from a child’s picture of the sun.  The thing is, there was no sun visible yet, just these clouds gazing at the early emissaries of the light.  It reminded me of being with a lover in a new place, a hotel for vacation maybe.  As they wake up and roll over, sleep crusted, trusting, you notice the light hit them in a way you never do in your bedroom at home where the light has become mundane.  It rolls and it billows and you wonder how you’ve never seen this person before.  As I watched this morning, I had the same gratitude and awe.  I found myself, somewhat sheepishly, saying, “Good morning sister,” to the earth that was waking up right in front of me.  I hoped she wouldn’t mind me peeking in her room.

When I got to work it finally hit me: we stop gazing because when we gaze, when we see beyond the surface, it feels more and more impossible to go into boxes, either literal or metaphorical, and continue to follow expectations.  Illogically, but understandably, we picture a terrifying, downward hippie spiral in which we would never go to work again.  A Tom Robbins’esque world where we would have to “call in well” to work.  I definitely wasn’t ready to go inside the classroom this morning, but this time instead of relenting and souring in my confusion and resentment,  I stalked the reddening sunrise to the parking lot and just stared for a few minutes longer.  I may have freaked out the construction guys, already at work tearing up our parking lot, but I really didn’t care.  I don’t want to relegate my sense of curiosity to socially acceptable things like sex, celebrities, and politics.  As frightening as it can be, and is, I want to gaze until all the boxes melt, even if it means purple green spots in front of my overloaded eyes.  Because I think, once they melt, it won’t be as scary anymore.

I was oddly drawn to a Bible passage as I continued to stand there.  It was one I hadn’t considered in years, and furthermore, had always made me feel slightly bad about myself when a pastor spoke on it.  I’m gonna paraphrase here because I haven’t picked up a Bible in forever: “Consider the lilies of the field.  They neither spin nor toil.  They know they’re going to be taken care of.”  How do they know, I used to think?  Even the flowers are better Christians than me I would ultimately conclude…I need to get to work on being less worried.  But it clicked this morning–if I saw the sun rise and set every day, if I had nothing to do but gaze, I would worry less too.  Fires might burn down my field, greedy fingers might pluck me, but how could the possibilities for recovery and creation not be endless in a world that paints with the sun?


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I am a former teacher, writer, dancer, aspiring Taiko drummer, and artist. I am trying to listen to the journey, no matter where it turns, and pump out a whole lot of magic while I do.

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