There is something strangely reassuring when I watch the sunrise.
This morning the air is chilly. Winter’s cold is still holding on. Frost is on the ground. The trees, while beginning to bud, still are barren and their naked fingers still remind me of a sleep not yet completed.
I’ve been standing outside for quite some time. Around me the birds are all in chorus bidding the sun to crest over the horizon. Even an owl has gotten into the act as his great bellowing “hoot” rings through the woods nearby. But the day is still quiet, still new, still full of promise, yet with a nagging doubt. Although my coffee is getting cooler each second, I habitually take a sip and it’s the sunrise that grips me.
The sky’s infinite gradation, moving from vermilion to pale yellow, warms me, somehow. It’s sweet kiss upon me makes me smile. And no one is watching me smile. I’m standing outside alone, utterly alone. I could wish that I had ponderous and deep thoughts. I wish that Inspiration was standing right next to me with an envelope containing a theme that would forever alter the consciousness of humanity. Alas. I only have coffee and a few words and the lazy smell of a wood fire drifting into our valley.
The moment is fleeting. As quickly as the sky bloomed with color it has gone. A pale yellow crests and the sky becomes homogeneous. Yet there is still quiet. The distant trees are still a blur and shaded in pale blues and violets and a mist still hangs in the air and I can see the hoary glaze on last season’s grass. There is green. But it is in patches. It is vibrant and young and awakening. But it is patchy and sparse and its quest seems impossible.
Thus I am confronted with my “impossibility.” I am confronted with struggle and this crazy, tumultuous mini-season in the Ozarks between Winter and Spring. I am confronted with my own crazy, tumultuous mini-season of emotional dormancy and awakening health and vibrancy; a seeming dance between the halting steps of insanity and peace. Perhaps these are deep thoughts. Perhaps this is just trying to squeeze too much emotion and meaning out of a so tightly conceived space that there is nothing left in the sponge–not even a dampness. But I trundle on. This time I turn my back on the sunrise and return to my cabin.
I’ve tried to ponder deep subjects. I’ve tried to plumb the depths of my own emotional state, to understand my truth. I’ve driven on the road to discovering my deep and abiding passion, to find my one true purpose and had to often pull to the side to question the trip itself. I’ve often wondered–existentially speaking–whether we even are able to fully discern what that purpose is. I’ve often thought that really all we can do is just look for it. And I’ve often concluded, How can we even know? It seems that the conclusion that I keep arriving at is that the quest is in itself what is important. Really all we are making and carving and hammering out is our own space of self-expression and identity and in fact that the possibilities are as wide open as the vistas of the Plains of South Dakota. And that merely to strive is the fullest expression of our own humanity. That to not strive is to placate to the unseen forces of apathy, depression, and despair.
Those forces I will resist.
It is Spring.