Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This I Believe [V2]

“The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth”
-Chinese Proverb

“It’s beautiful, all of it, isn’t it?”

The words drifted from my Grandpa through the thick, steamy July air and settled down all around us. He had that far off look in his eye that someone gets whenever their eyes turn away from the outside world and back in onto their own thoughts, as if being told a secret. We were aimlessly drifting around the anchor on our little boat in the middle of the immense Ranier, hoping to catch the night’s dinner. The air was stale but had a strong pleasant smell from the looming pines of a nearby island. The sun was high overhead, pounding down heat through the vacant blue sky, an occasional gull or rare Eagle being the only inhabitants. We had both taken our shirts and socks off to try and cope with the heat, and began sipping on the cold Sprites that my Grandma had packed for us. The cans were wet from condensation and slid through our already sweaty palms forcing us to use the rubbery VFW cupholders that were in the glove compartment.

My Grandpa saw being in nature as more than just pastime recreation, something there to be used for our own means of entertainment. To him it was an art and a connection to something deeper. All around my grandparent’s house, located on the northern rim of Minnesota, there are vast and expansive woodlands and fields to wander through, where he would teach me about all the wildlife and fauna that we passed, its purpose with everything else around it. I was stunned when he explained how everything was in its right place, how everything relied on everything else to survive, and how each blade of grass, half-buried stone, and piece of bark was a miracle all its own. My Grandpa also said that people had their own place next to these things. I asked him where that was and he said that he was still trying to find out.

When his words reached me back on the boat, I simply took them in as part of the world that was all around me, the world that my Grandpa had come to love. It blended in with the soft lapping of waves against the hull, the hushed rustle of branches caught in the wind, and the distant whir of a boat engine heading out into the glassy waters. When I looked to see if he had anything more to say, he looked back at me with a childlike smile and asked, “Well, how about those sandwiches Grandma packed?”

I believe he knew humanity’s place on the earth as just another gear in the larger clockwork of existence. It is his belief that now lives on in me.

No comments: