Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Breath of Vanity

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."
What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?

Angry about Israel?
Disturbed about the plight of a Palestinian?
Do you demand that Obama is evil?
Is Limbaugh pissing you off?

Have you a bed?
Is your belly full?
Does someone cherish you?
Do you yet breathe?

I read a letter from father to son, their children's children's children long ago turned to dust.  An Egyptian father urged his son to make something of his life, to do his duty, to bring honor to his family.

His worry and admonition so familiar, so far away.

Now, except some fragment of his scratching, they are both nameless, mostly forgotten.  Even the worms that ate their bones, dispersed amongst us all.

Photograph by Ryan Mckee
Some claim that if we know the secret symbols etched out on some rock or page, we can have eternal life, live forever in an ecstatic paradise.  All we have to do is believe.

Others claim the whole universe will fade out, in some entropic heat death at the end of time from a hot bright flash of nothing becoming something it will slowly all fade until something means nothing.

Looking up on a clear, starry night at a two dimensional view of a cosmos only grasped on the fringes of awareness, I see billions of galaxies each with billions of stars, long gone, pale photons emitted from some violent eon gone action, pushing upon my eyes.

What am I to them, these stars these photons?
What small significance would I, this little pattern of energy and matter, matter so much to them?

Then a plane passes in my direct view, just overhead, full of Fed Ex's bound for someones expectation of desire.
Boxes of hope.  Boxes of wants. Boxes of some scheme.
Busy expectations of a tomorrows arrival.
A reason to strive and reach and climb and achieve.
Dead trees of cubical enclosures with ink arranged on paper just so to let everyone know they exist.
Meaning created for meanings sake.

At my knee is a rose.  A beautiful pink explosion of life.  At my feet a quiet ant hill, still from its many lives exertions for food to procreate the next colony of being.  Within each ant cells process, divide, grow and pass on, full of molecules and quarks moving in a complex dance.

My grown daughter, far away, yet so close in space, puts down her head on dead birds remains covered by rearranged plant fiber and begins to snore.  I hope she knows peace.  A step son, unseen, unheard for many a year, goes about his day in a land on the other side of this tiny, revolving sphere unaware of my trivial existence.

In this moment I breathe.  I feel the oxygen and nitrogen, born in dead distant stars, rush past the hairs of my nose, giving my little pattern of existence one more brief moment.  I am content to have the token of
it's presence and I too fade to vain sleep.

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