At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Numinous

I learned a new word today.

I’ll confess I’m a bit of a language wonk. Each day, my homepage presents me with a sunrise gift box containing the “Word of the Day.” It pleases me no end to find a new word. Sad to say, though, the word and its definition invariably fade from memory almost as quickly as dreams fade upon wakening.

By chance, I stumbled upon a new word today. This one is different. This is a word I will never forget: numinous.

I love the way it sounds. I love the way it feels on my lips and tongue.

This is the word I had been searching for from my very first glimpse of the heavens. This is the word that had eluded me my entire life.

Numinous is a Latin term coined by the German theologian Rudolf Otto to describe that which is "wholly other"...and the human response to it is “absolute astonishment.” He believed that we humans are predisposed to detect and revere the numinous. The numinous is the mysterium tremendum et fascinans that leads, in different cases, to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent. As I’ve written before, I believe all of science elicits that sense of awe.

In his book, Contact, Carl Sagan illustrates this notion through the voice of Ellie Arroway:

“I had an experience. I can’t prove it. I can’t even explain it. But everything I know as a human being, everything I am, tells me it was real. I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever. A vision of the universe that tells us undeniably … how tiny and insignificant … and how rare and precious we all are…”

If sensing the numinous is at the heart of religion, who, pray tell, are the more reverent...the "People of the Book” or the people who study the stars?

I bask in the numinous. I revel in it. And come the moment my heart tattoos its last lub dub, when all the blessings I claimed as mine tumble free from cold, insensate fingers...when this most improbable of miracles that was my existence comes, once more, to transcend all time and space...know this: there’ll be no need for tears or lamentation.

I will have gratefully, joyfully, become one with the numinous.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Granted, He's No Michelangelo...

But, still...

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Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

* * *

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Remarkable Man

Today, in Philadelphia, a remarkable man gave a remarkable speech. That man was Barack Obama. You can view, or read, that speech here. I urge you to do just that.

I had lost hope that I would ever hear a speech like that, again. There was a time, decades ago, when America’s body politic reverberated with hopes, dreams, ideas and ideals. Those days were so long ago
(I was just a young man, then) that I’d forgotten how it felt to be inspired.

* * *

Today, I feel inspired

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Setting Sail

Thank you, Dear Hearts, for your kind thoughts, consoling comments and emails. You have been a great comfort to me...even if my silence may have indicated otherwise.

The death of love is cause for mourning. I’ve shed quite a few tears over the past few years. There were a few left still. I suppose there will always be.

The past is past, though. It is time to hoist sail and venture into the deep blue unknown. Who knows where the winds will propel me?
I don’t much care. It is good simply to cast off the hawsers and turn my face to the salt and far horizon. The tide has turned and the oceans beckon.

For better or worse, I’ve left the harbor I’d come to know so well (and not at all)...never to return.

It’s time to chase the beauties of the world.

* * *

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It Is Done

Room 1502...”Domestic Relations”, the realm of the Honorable Judge Berger. Her court exudes a stark solemnity. It is an homage to oak veneer and modernity. A paean to sharp angles and quiet efficiency.

Nailed to the wall is an eye-catching clock, bold and determined to show us the if time mattered in a room where dreams come to die.

I feel dead inside this room.

The others seem as caricatures, each playing a dutiful role in this oddly intimate gathering: judge, clerk, court reporter, marshal, attorneys, my once-beautiful bride...and I. I am watching from a distance, from some place deep within. But I am dead to all of it.

I am fixated on the sunshine slanting through the hallway beyond the open court room door.

That sunbeam was the only thing that mattered now.

* * *

As my attorney and I were walking to the court house, she turned to me and said: “You paid a high price for your freedom.”

Yes, indeed, I had paid a very high price. Perhaps I’ll even come to learn I paid too steep a price. No matter. I paid what I had to pay
for that skinniest of slim chances to bask in the sun again. If only
for a little while. If only in my dreams...

* * *

On March 11, 2008, at 4:34 PM Central Daylight Savings Time,
I was granted the freedom to seek the sun...

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Where Truth Lies

It is said that therapy’s purpose is to help us craft the stories of our lives. Perhaps it is. I went into therapy seeking answers, struggling for understanding. In the process, after a great deal of soul-searching,
I have my story. It is my Truth.

The thing is, though, my ex would tell an altogether different story. Her story...her Truth.

Where, exactly, does Truth lie?

* * *

It used to be quite fashionable, several thousand years ago, to wander alone in the desert in an act of piety and faith that promised to reveal the mightiest of Truths. Perhaps it did. I imagine the suffering pilgrim lost in a white hot cauldron, sipping droplets of water, subsisting on a few figs and dates. Maybe, in that infinite furnace, one actually can discover a burning bush, or hear the voice of the Divine. Then again, perhaps it is the fevered brain or the scorpion’s poison that burned in the night that called to you.

How is one to know where Truth lies?

* * *

Maybe it doesn’t matter.

Maybe Truth doesn’t matter. Perhaps we were meant to be dream-weavers and story-tellers. Did we not, as children, dream our world? Did we not once believe in goodness and innocence and the charms of love? Our lives, then, were just as real, our Truths every bit as powerful as those we know today. Perhaps we were meant to create our own life stories, filled with the Truths of an innocent child.

* * *

I’m none too pleased with my personal saga as it stands today.
I’m hoping for a happy ending.

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