I'm writing this morning from Calgary. Lori and I are staying with my sister for a few days. We made the trip over the mountains this time in order to be present for two family memorials, one for my little brother, who passed a year ago and the other for Lyle, who I have written about and who was a relative by marriage to Lori. Lyle was 99, Preston was just shy of his sixty-first birthday.
Preston’s anniversary was yesterday and family and friends gathered at what is now his wife’s home, as we had done so many times over the years, to eat, drink, make some music and party. There were toasts and memories… he would have loved it.
It all sets me to wondering…yet again…about the oldest of questions…What are we all doing here?…why are some lives only moments long and others 100 years?…do we get do-overs?…would we even want such a thing?…and, of course,
is this all there is?…which is indeed a ridiculous question. I ask myself, ’How can I even think such a thing? How can I pose such a dumb question? How can everything not be enough?’
It’s all so subjective though, so contingent upon what we think of as ‘enough’. Have I had enough love, enough pleasure, enough pain, enough money, travel, sex, friendship, struggle, recognition, affirmation, fear, fortune…ah fuck it!…maybe it’s all just TOO MUCH!
My living has led me to the conclusion that basically nothing matters. While I find it hard to believe that the essence of life ends with physical death I am absolutely ok with folks who can’t see any other possibility…I just think it doesn’t make any sense. It seems that I have, for reasons unknown to me, structured my life to allow for lots of contemplative time, lots of hours spent in my personal church which is the natural world…the forest, the water, the vast open spaces…and the creatures that live there. I have watched all manner of life change from living to so-called dead and then watched as new life sprang from it. An endless recycling of energy. And if this energy… material life energy… continues to transform and exist and remain alive, then how is it possible that the much faster, infinitely more sublime energy of consciousness could vanish without a trace?
It’s simply not.
I think it was in grade five science class that I learned that energy could be neither created nor destroyed (which is a pretty bold statement given our limited perspective). But if that is in fact the case, then the statement must apply to energies too fast for our current technology to detect…and there is no doubt that they exist.
Perhaps one day science will offer proof of life beyond the physical…a world beyond the material…but I am doubtful that we shall ever get to the end of the rainbow…to an understanding of the mystery. The more we learn the more fantastic it all becomes. But perhaps we have a deep knowing already. Perhaps that’s why we can accept our condition and carry on even when the proof of our own physical mortality pops up undeniably right under our noses. People disappear… the dead are celebrated and cherished…for awhile.
Then life goes on…and on and on.