This morning, I am hoping I will be able to recognize and appreciate the magnitude of the coming day – of each moment of the coming day. There will be immensity in everything that happens today. Even every breath I take will have greatness within it, and all the flashes of sunlight in the forest as we’re bike-riding on the rail trail will be brilliant beyond belief. There will be a marvelous radiance inside every thought, and all the feelings that flow through me will have a hugeness that I hope I can be aware of. Every turn of my head and all the ways papers and books and notes sit on my desk will be of serious significance. The soft, sheer curtains that hang beside our windows will have a special kind of importance, and my hand will occasionally rest on the top of my desk with dignity and prominence. Like all days, this will be a day of grand magnitude. Historic events will occur – someone in New Zealand suddenly understanding something, a small child in Tennessee taking its first steps, my hands and fingers coming together in friendship. How lucky I will be to be present at so many momentous proceedings on such a prominent and illustrious day!
Below, a quiet scene at the start of our 22-mile bike ride this morning with two friends on the Kingston (RI) rail trail …
This morning, a strange question came to mind: Is there an adequate supply of stars in the sky? I don’t know why I thought of that, but it brought to mind the large and wonderful topic of ‘supply’, and I began to realize how truly vast life’s supply is. For instance, every moment is made by the same boundless forces that formed the cosmos eons ago. There’s an endless reservoir of immaculate moments and pristine feelings awaiting me, and all of us, today, and we have, in a sense, as many thoughts available to us as there are stars in the universe. Powers like kindness and patience and acceptance are piled up in limitless repositories, ready to be dispensed for our use and pleasure today. Somehow, miraculously, I, and all of us, will be outfitted with shining newness each and every moment. Sadly, though, based on past experience, I’ll probably seldom be aware of it.
But … perhaps today will be different. Perhaps I will see and understand the prodigious storehouse of life that is far more vast than the stars in the sky – and always stands ready to benefit me, and all of us.
Here are two happy 80-year-old bike riders on the Kingston (RI) rail trail this morning …
We took our first real bike ride of the season this morning, a quick 8 miles, and here’s a look at Delycia finishing the second 2-mile stage in a very strong fashion …
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“Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific – and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise –
Silent upon a peak in Darien.”
— John Keats, “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”
I’m always hoping to more often feel what “stout Cortez” and his men felt on that “peak in Darien”. Keats pictures them standing on a hill above the Pacific Ocean, staggered by the scene, and I would like to foster more of that kind of bewilderment and wonder in my life. Cortez and his men saw a startling sight, and every day – every moment – I am witness to scenes which, in their own special ways, are just as amazing. Hard as it is to remember during the sometimes wearisome routines of the day, the various circumstances that arise around me are as unique and mystifying as the Pacific Ocean, and really, the only suitable response to them is honest amazement. The life I share with Delycia is my “Darien”, and wherever I happen to be is the “peak” where I can look “with a wild surmise” at the inscrutable magnificence of life. A “surmise” is a guess, a supposition, a hunch, and that’s honestly all I have when it comes to understanding the things I see and experience. In the end, they’re all complete conundrums to me. If you ask me to make clear the mystery of even the simplest circumstance – the look of lamplight on a table, the sound of a car coming past the house, the whole sky shining at 7:00 a.m. — all I could do is make a hit-or-miss guess, a “wild surmise”. A better response might be to stay respectfully silent, like the astonished explorer and his men.