7.31.2007

The nonchalantdad: John Constable (Cloud Study, 1822)


Things are moving fast my friend. You better hang on. It would appear for the most part we might want it that way in some respect. Perhaps all the noise, all the lights, all that stuff makes us feel we are getting something done. Perhaps we are. So, we keep busy – we keep moving. We accomplish. We keep adding to the fray.

But, the world does not exist in the linear. We do not learn on a flat plane. We do not experience the world in the singular. In this other place knowledge and insight are not always earned in hours or minutes. And wealth is not determined by how much we have. I don’t expect that this small knowledge will transform you completely. Afterall, it is not something that you don't already know – but we might do well to remember it from time to time. I suppose that is what I am trying to tell you.

Because, one thing is sure: our lives are only an experience. Really, they are. Good or Bad - it is our experience. I would suggest that this is indeed what we live for. EXPERIENCE. And, if it is one thing that is immediately clear from those little people who have just appeared on the planet – our children – it is that EXPERIENCE is our only real currency in the end. What else will you gain?

Now, of course - life can continue for some time. So, we are not to blame for getting tired and forgetful. By adulthood you are already gathering enough stuff. It's just that we need to be reminded at times - or need to be open to reminder. Let me remind you then: there is a wealth to be found in just waiting - just watching. Loitering is full of potential.

I'm on a National Express bus travelling from Heathrow Airport to Gatwick Airport. I'm in England. I've got another appointment, something important to tend to. I'm deep in thought, it has to be numbers or something somebody said to me. It's always damned numbers. It's always words. I'm sitting near the middle of the bus, I've determined it is safer here. I'm next to a window - large windows. This is a tour bus. We are up high and the view of everything passing us by is generous. The bus is not crowded. It is late evening and the sun is making its last splash across the sky - bouncing off clouds and stretching itself thinner and thinner. The colours alone are mysterious.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The view at present is one of cars and trucks (lorries) taking things and people to and fro. After a few cars and trucks monotony sets in visually. So, I'm back to thinking. Numbers. There are 5 other people on this bus with me besides the driver. There is a young couple at the back, reclining as young people do, with their iPods. Near the front of the bus on the same side as me are another couple. They are either talking or staring at the ground. Their young son, about 5 or 6 years of age is sitting directly behind them. He, of course, is pressed to the window.

Looking up, I see him looking back at me. I wave. He waves back. He is back to looking out the window. Without thinking I follow his lead. More cars and trucks. But, he apparently isn't looking at them. His head is tilted a bit higher than that. He is looking up. So, I look up. I see what I described to you - the setting sun and clouds. Up at the highest point the sky is a darkish prussian blue. As it graduates down on the horizon it becomes more magenta-like. Perhaps, it is a peach colour I think. Whatever it is, it is for that brief moment something stunning - and I've seen my fair share of sunsets. A mixture of storm clouds coming in all dark and brooding at the bottom - stretching and billowing high up into the sky in a pure cream colour. The universe has a natural measurement.

I look back over to the front of the bus to see the boy looking back at me. He points to the sky as if to indicate something childishly tremendous has occured. I'm thinking it must be a UFO given his quiet excitement. He points for a few seconds and then looks back out the window up above the cars and trucks. Above all that speed, he is looking at something else. i'm not sure what he was really looking at. There are many things in a sky. You can't ever be sure. But, I know what I experienced in that moment. And, I will tell you this. It was enough to carry me for several days.

Any of you out there have any magic 'kid' moments you care to share?

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