Yesterday I spend a number of hours applying a finishing coat to the new fence. This offered a lot of time to think and I thought I’d write a few down here. The time is now 4:57 AM and I had thought I’d go to the gym but I’m behind in writing so glad I’ve chosen to get my thoughts down.
My first random thought is that I’d like to spend Christmas in a town that looks like it was designed for Christmas. There is a place called the North Pole in Alaska but I feel it needs to be older, a bit more exotic. What I have in mind is Norway, Sweden or perhaps Iceland. Cobblestone streets, ancient architecture that was built for snow and actual reindeer would all be perfect.
When I think of the most magical places I’ve been near or during Christmas time until now a few things come to mind:
- The heating grate in my living room at 4:00 AM when I was a child; the heater was right next to the Christmas tree whose lights sparkled off of a thousand presents. Outside there was snow on the ground and I could perceive the chill coming off the freezing windows, but on my heater I was more than comfortable.
2. Paris on the Champs Elysees when lights illuminated the boulevard through a very crisp, cold night. I was with my sister and to feel the sting of the cold on my cheeks while looking at the simple, yet elegant lighting gave me a feeling I cannot describe; the emotion resides in a deep corner in my brain that only resurfaces when I contemplate that night. I had just bought a scarf which dispelled the myth that all Parisians are rude. I spoke in French to the older gentleman who was very helpful and sold me a scarf I still treasure to this day; this reminds me, I need to find that scarf. A Christmas in Paris, in a place rented through Airbnb: that might be magical as well but would have to wait until the kids are old enough to appreciate French, history and art.
A snapshot in time:
While I was coating the fence I was listening to ’80s radio which made me think of many people I knew, what they were like then and what they have become.
Imagine looking at a picture of your friends in the ’80s; what they have become in 2016 is simply the combined result of every single decision they’ve made since that picture was taken 30 years ago. Time is so fleeting yet we stubbornly refuse to let go of the trivial that multiplies and fills our days. In work we want to sell more trinkets, more sugar water, more fatty foods, we need to increase the EBIDA or as Chandler Bing called the Wenus! We chase money, which will never be enough to satisfy, in the belief we’ll one day have enough and then have reached a goal. In our personal lives we have a hard time figuring out exactly what we want. Happy is the man who has no more than three hobbies and can devote an ample amount of time to each of them.
In the 30 years that have passed what would those in the picture say about their lives and choices? Have those 30 years been lived effectively, efficiently, joyously, happily? Perhaps they were filled with one mistake after another? Is there a trend which tilts the 30 years of life mostly towards sadness or happiness? Or could the years be described as walking aimlessly through a fog; there is no real direction, but just putting one foot in front of the other aging as we go.
There is a quote in Don Quixote – which I cannot seem to find – in which Samson Carrasco says theology is the most noble of academic studies. Thinking about how quickly the past thirty years have gone and how many people in that photograph are now deceased I’m inclined to agree with Mr. Carrasco. Although I have come to believe that religion at its core is simply made up stories in order to explain this reality I do like the idea of studying it. Even the most ardent atheist cannot deny that thousands of brilliant minds devoted their energies to theology; even though the fundamental belief in their particular faith may be fantasy the search and thought processes are genuine. After all, nobody has the absolute answer and if they do they’ve certainly done a hell of a job in keeping it a secret.
My own thoughts are most likely just a product of all I’ve learned and any original thoughts I may think I’ve had are just a rearrangement of a fraction of what is inside my head. Perhaps it is impossible to contemplate anything outside this reality and universe since everything I know has come from inside it. Just as a fish in my tank cannot contemplate the car sitting in my garage I will never comprehend anything outside of this universe. But it is always fun to try and so I continue reading, thinking, writing and dreaming.
All humanity has ever done could be erased by an asteroid tomorrow; isn’t the search for the supreme truth indeed the most noble of pursuits?