March 15, 2017 (The Ides of March)
|Mendocino at Dawn on the Ides of March 2017|
This morning at dawn I watched the sun attempt to cut through the thick overcast of morning clouds over the Mendocino Headlands. The fog was backlit by a pink and rose colored light that changed to a rich yellow and gold. For a little while the gray overcast was like a cold watercolor wash with little eddies of cloud lazily roiling through one another. The ocean was a rippling mirror tainted with moving fluid cracks, unable to create a pure reflection of the sky. It was a stunning sight.
But the sun lost the battle and the clouds won out. At this moment, the ocean is pale and the sky is just a overlay of disinterested dirty white. The landscape is still beautiful, but it teaches us that everything changes and migrates to other moments and that moods and internal states of mind are as malleable as the weather and climate.
Three years ago, about this time of day, my life shattered in an unforeseen and unexpected way. I have spent the last three years gradually putting the pieces back together.
What have I become? A better man? A wiser person? A hero? A fool? An artist? A wanderer in years of pilgrimage like Franz Liszt in Italy?
“All of the above” is the answer to that multiple-choice question.
Experiences that have not yet blossomed seem to be waiting on the horizon. Every one of them is here right now as a possibility. It\’s useless to conjecture about what life would be like today if she had not died. It was what it was, and it is what it is.
Romantic love is a sweet mask that hides our inner turmoil. We love passionately because deep down we feel that love will conquer all things. And it does assuage the little personal events that seem so important to us and that can seem so insurmountable when they appear in our lives. Love can help with those trials. And it\’s pleasant to share life with a partner. There’s no harm in masks, if we remember that there is always something different behind the persona that our partner wears and that we also display to them.
But Love cannot conquer death. Nothing can. Everything is impermanent.
“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” outlasts us all and counsels us all, for it is the source of all things. But the manifestations of that divine energy are impermanent, constantly changing shape and taking on new forms. When we understand that fact then we are free.
It’s challenging to be liberated from our illusions. And it hurts to acquire freedom. But the air is clear and fresh when we have escaped our expectations and find our experience existing on the other side of suffering. Even if only for a short time.
There’s an old Sicilian proverb that says: “The young are arsonists. The old are firemen.” Life stuff blows up constantly. Being open to wisdom means we can put out the fires when life detonates. And when the smoke clears and the ashes settle we can see the sun rise again the next morning and accept the gift of yet another day. Even if the sun does not burn away the overcast.
|Looking south from the Mendocino Headlands while the weather makes up its mind.|