Mystery

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

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On our walk this morning – about 8 miles along the Mystic River – I had many epiphanies about the fundamental mysteriousness of life, about the fact that, the older I get, the less wisdom I seem to have. What’s so surprising about this, however, is that it makes me happy! I am strangely glad that I gradually know less and less, as if I am slowly being introduced to the wondrous truth about life – that its meaning has no boundaries, no beginning or end, and thus is entirely unknowable. It’s like I’m gradually entering, at the age of 78, the youthful paradise of constant and pleasant amazement.

On our walk, we came upon this unexceptional scene,

but as I stood silently for a moment, some unanswerable questions about the scene slowly came to me. How did those few leaves in the lower left corner get where they are? What is the history of their lives and travels? And how did each of the leaves on the hillside arrive there? What were all the turns and twists of their journeys from being buds on trees to being scattered leaves beside a river? And who made the telephone pole in the scene, and where were they born, and what sadnesses and joys have they had in their lives, and have they forgotten this tall and important pole which they made? And who built the low cable fence along the river, and what was their favorite subject in school, and is happiness more prominent in their lives than sadness? And what about the clouds above? Where did they start, and where are they sailing to?

And then … what about these two people?

Where did they come from? How did their great-grandparents meet and fall in love and thus sustain the process that led to two gray-haired, joyous, full-of-life faces along the Mystic River this morning?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, and I am honestly glad that I don’t. At the blessed age of 78, I am rejoicing in my slowly discovered innocence, delighted to be utterly lost in boyish bewilderment.

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