In spite of everything

Something like silence descended down the mountain slope. For a while it stood still – as a background to the tranquility that pervaded the moment. It stood there – the cloud, resplendent in its transience; beautiful in the moonlight which held my breath.

How often can one recognize a moment to be important as it happens? How often does a moment leave an enduring peace in one’s heart? How often can one recollect the shape of a cloud that has passed?

I have heard that one can commit such moments to eternity – with a paintbrush and a canvas perhaps. Or maybe with a pen and a piece of paper. I have heard masters say – “If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it“. I have read and reread and wondered if words would ever burst out of me that way.

It is not that words have escaped me. They have arrived – flowing naturally and sometimes for no reason at all. Some were even beautiful when read aloud. I have wished a poem out of some of them as well. Each passing word however sighed and merely skimmed the surface of a feeling, the depths of which remained beyond its reach.

But why blame the words when the truth is that I have been unable to hold a true feeling in my heart for long. Embroiled as I am in the mundane, anxious as I am to not allow the intensity of emotions to affect the normality of life, I have let my words ring hollow.

The burden of life is easier on the shoulders when the soul stands ajar, unaffected. It is also quite possibly a lesser life.

The unwritten words however haunt my days and the blank pages cry for ink. I agonize over the futility of the torment my mind generates. What purpose do a thousand thoughts serve if none can hold its own on a blank page.

However, I have no intention of chronicling the mundane. My personal musings refuse to lend themselves to general consumption and the fiercely private self I have battles the public nature of the written word.

And yet here I sit, watching a grown man break character to amuse his son in a crowded airport. The memory of that faraway cloud creeps into my mind – a memory and a feeling as true as the child’s laughter. Thrust back into that intense beauty that rustled my soul, I realize I must break character to write.

To write is to become vulnerable, to lay bare upon paper – a piece of yourself; for others to read. It is a frightening prospect. But to not write is to shackle yourself into a space too narrow for your mind. I must write.

And what must I write about? Maybe about how, sometimes in the strangest of places, one finds an enduring tranquility. Maybe, I should write about the beauty of a moment so serene that it surpasses the longing in one’s soul.

Maybe I should write about how at times, when the moment is right, something close to peace descends upon you. And you find within it a reason to be vulnerable, to write – in spite of everything.

Note: The master mentioned is Charles Bukowski and the quote is from his poem, So You Want To Be A Writer