Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thoughts On A Morning in Wales

I want to remember the moment.

I am sitting in a country kitchen in Wales. Eggs are frying in the pan, toast is toasting in the toaster, sausages and potatoes have been fried and are waiting in a warm oven. In a moment, between the toaster popping and the eggs needing turned, I stop to look out the window. It's a misty morning, sheep are gently grazing in the field just outside the window and the trees, leaves just touched with colour, are emerging into the dawn. It's a moment that would move a poet to write poetry, a artist to pull out paints, a mystic to fall into prayer, It's a moment I want to remember. A simple, quiet, moment.

In this moment, and in moments like these, I find real meaning and real joy. Oh, I know that I am pressed to think of my life as one big 'to do' list, things checked off, things crossed out and written over, things moved from here to there with arched arrows. I know that I am pulled by the purpose of living and by the need to make a living, and I know that I enjoy all that comes with that. I know all that. In this trip there is rush and there is bustle, there is travel and there are meetings, there is much to be done and much that will be done. But none of that, important though it is, have I tried to imprint into my memory like I have this moment. With the smell of toast and the sizzle of eggs inside, and sheep and trees and a misty early morning outside.

I remember during the controversy around the murder of Tracy Latimer, a murder made controversial only because of disability, reading an article written by a young man with cerebral palsy. He described himself as having a significant physical disability and requiring support every hour of every day. He spoke of loving his life, of loving being in the world, of quiet moments in rooms that smelled of toast and tasted of coffee. I understood that then, I really understand that now. It is in these moments that we find something deeper than self, something deeper than identity, the soul perhaps, the spirit perchance. It is in these simple moments there is a pureness of experience, a pureness of our humanity.

There are those who have said to me, in full consciousness of what they are saying, "I'd rather be dead than in a wheelchair." I've never known how to respond, beyond outrage. But now I think how shallowly these people must have lived. To think that the essence of who we are is tied in some way to any ability other than the one required to feel a moment where toast is incense, sizzle is music and where sheep graze outside the window, is to see life and living so narrowly.

So now, I type, readying to go on to the part of my life and work that people value. Things will be checked of the 'to do' list, hotels will be stayed in, lectures will be given, miles will be travelled. However, as all that happens, my soul, my spirit, my essence, will be remembering an early morning in Wales, cooking in a kitchen, and looking out the window as morning comes.

7 comments:

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

What a beautiful way to start the day - you in Wales, me in Canada, other blog readers around the globe.

As a society I think we have lost the ability to recognize the sacred in the seemingly ordinary. And so some people would rather be dead than experience the sacred/ordinary sitting down. Me, I'll take those moments however they come.

Thanks for a great start to my day
Colleen

Belinda said...

Oh, how I loved the image evoked by "toast is incense, sizzle is music."

To have the gift of being in the moment like that is riches--and not the exclusive domain of any those with any particular intellectual or physical capacity.

Tamara said...

"To think that the essence of who we are is tied in some way to any ability other than the one required to feel a moment where toast is incense, sizzle is music and where sheep graze outside the window, is to see life and living so narrowly."

Exactly right.

krlr said...

One of my very favorite posts, ever. Thank you.

jo(e) said...

Beautiful, the way you think and the way you write.

liz said...

I love this post.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post too, until I got to the 'live so narrowly' part. It just seems odd to presume that when there are so many other possible reasons why people may believe they would be unable to live their lives in a wheelchair....Rachael