- Reality simply exists, without volition nor plans. Perhaps “simply” is a poor choice of wording for something so infinitely variable. Sky, clouds, water, all things on above and below this thin shell of habitat which confines life. Another day, another year, another bit of imagination applied.
- Resolutions are traditionally made once a year. Usually one vows to be better (never worse) in some way. And sometimes that intention is kept for almost a week. Our lives are momentary and constructed of complete instants one after another. If I am to be better, I must be so each second. The sky, clouds, and water may not care, but I should.
Live with hope
- There are people who cannot figure how to enjoy a “nasty” day. Fog and drizzle following sleet with about the first average temperature of December. Ducks don’t need resolutions to handle weather. Most waterfowl have already followed instinct to migrate to appropriate locations. Others _ not this little bufflehead _ have further retreated to some leeward cove to escape misty wind.
- My resolutions no longer follow years, or even seasons, and are more limited to each day. Mine was “get out of the house, take a walk, snap some pictures, and think about what to write tomorrow.” If I am lucky my resolutions may harden into a schedule that is nearly instinctual. Then, hopefully, I can be more like this tiny creature and apparently frolic about no matter the clouds and temperature.
“Yeah, exactly,” I say as the entrees arrive, “Carpe diem because we sure don’t know how many more diems we’re gonna get to carpe.”
- Shiny new year, bright with promise, filled with hope, casting off old fears… But tides roll as always, sunset and sunrise cycle as before, darkling season remains. Individuals and entire species do what they must to survive, one day at a time. Plants and animals know nothing of new year, or promise, or hope.
- Real magic is not in artificial calendar resets, but in the very fact that there is continuity. Life rolls on through tides, days and nights, seasons without end. We alone perceive the connection, and assign imaginary demarcations of years or eras or eons. Our magic is in creating intertwined stories all the way back to an imagined beginning of the universe, or, for that matter, to this same calendar day, exactly one arbitrary human year ago.
- God and the universe need no resolutions _ what was, was; what is, is; what will be, will be. Only a sense of alternative futures leads to plans, fears, hopes. Some life may dimly sense choice, but most is blind existence, instinct, or training. No rock, tree or bacteria resolves to change for the better or worse. Only in human imagination do rabbits swear to outwit hunters.
- We are deeply identical to all life in chemical composition, genes, attributes. Objectively, our differences are trivial or nonexistent. Yet we are quantitatively and qualitatively removed from nature, in infinite ways. “Higher” animals may know fear, but I do not believe they are aware of beauty. A mighty list of such anomalies would include art, writing, engineering, good, and evil.
- So I study the natural world, but what should I learn, what should I apply? I am so like and so unlike a blade of grass, an insect, a clam, you. What does a gypsy moth _ fighting for survival against terrible odds, decimating forests, threatening its own species by destroying its necessary ecology _ teach me? Is such doomed behavior inevitable? What could one moth do? How much do I resemble that moth?
- My contemplations realize that no answers exist, for answers, like choices, are human constructs. There is only tension, resolution, outcome. Preserving balance is a game of which only we are aware. Does that make it less real? I think not. Appreciating the game may be one of the higher goals of our consciousness.
- I am most unnatural. In all the universes that ever are or might be, I am unique. In my self-absorbed being, I feel important. I may understand that feeling to be wrong, but just by understanding it is wrong, I prove it is true. A lovely, illogical game rolling in syncopation with our magnificent perception of time’s tapestry.
- Nature continues brimming with infinite wonders. Sun rises unnoticed, winds blow evoking only wishes that they become more mild. Crows flap from branch to branch with raucous calls, above squirrels chasing each other ceaselessly. Only the scents of the activities of people remain. Thus it seems it was always and will always be. Yet this entire world is a fragile slice of time with nature and people appearing briefly on a tiny stage.
- I dare not resolve to spend more time in wonder. Part of the mystery is that I cannot. There are practical things to do, limits to meditation. I am a microscopic part of the moving pageant, and if I stand still regarding how magnificent the show appears I will only be trampled by the passing parade. But once in a while, each day, I must try to find a quiet space and continue to marvel at all there is, and be grateful I can continue to do so.