Tuesday, May 13, 2014

we walk with constellations

The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts. Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good company, good conversation, are the happiest people in the world. And they are not only happy in themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others.
 ― William Lyon Phelps

There is something about exploration.
 We might all be a little bit better off if we all did a little more exploring.
Something about exploration that pulls us out of our dull world of daily minor altercations with others. Human's minds seem to need constant fodder on which to mull over, always new something to think upon. I wonder what would happen to us if we just sat and thought about Psalm Forty-Two forever. That doesn't seem like it would be such a poor existence.
Anyway, be that as it may, there's something about exploration.
The thrill of exploration can be found biking down a hill, feet lifted off the pedals and out to the side like two oars, but there is no need to row. Accelerating at an exhilarating speed, you slide effortlessly down the sidewalk as the wind pushes your bike down the slope, under the beautiful and aromatic canopy of the pancake pussy trees.
Those ubiquitous trees that indicate the entire world's sap is on the rise.
The thrill of exploration is found in racing a thunderstorm home. As you bike, you look up at the sky, the ominous and dark clouds threatening rain at any second. The lightening comes first: brilliant sheets of icy pink slicing through the dark and heavy sky. Then, the rain follows. That first rain drop falls so gently, tentatively, barely leaving any moisture on your face. The wind from your bike sends the rain flying into your face in a very nearly diagonal direction.
For the final blocks before you reach the safe haven of the indoors, you are truly biking in a rainstorm
The rain is lush, warm, full of vitality.
It is the sort of rain that comes from a world full of life.

Earlier that day, we had walked across the bridge to the little tree-lined island, and watched geese fight one another. There's something exciting about exploring a place you have always wandered past, but never wandered into.
The thrill of exploration is found in beignets on a sunny sidewalk with iced coffee, and it's found in sunning on the side of the sparkling river, as the martens dive into the foam from the running water.
It's in the familiar chocolate smell of men smoking pipes, reminiscent of Saturday mornings and my dad's suburban in the driveway, which smelled like car oil, gasoline, and pipe tobacco.
It's in that bizarre phenomenon where time gets all warped and events of a year ago blend into the present, and events of a week ago seem like a lifetime ago, where events of October seem closer than events of Easter. How does this happen? I have yet to find out. Maybe if I keep exploring, the answer is somewhere out there.
The thrill of exploration somewhere inside the words that I read in my small book. The words were like love letters: I offer you my memory that it may call to mind your blessings.
I re-read them, remembering all the adventures of many years ago, the adventures of today, and the adventures of tomorrow.
I biked down the tree-lined sidewalk, not feeling very adventurous. I had just finished finals, and I already missed finals, because I remembered that distinctly sort of finals-week feeling. It has all the fun of "something is over and something new will begin" but it has all the comfort of knowing exactly what the new thing will be like. Not this finals week. I don't know what the new thing will be like, exactly. But I do know it doesn't include that lovely time of year called finals week, when your mind feels so full of information: of all the books you read in your classes, of all the discussions in our classes, all the knowledge of a semester is right there, in your brain, ready for you to access as you sit down in front of your blue book.
But then I walked into the stained glass chapel, and the world, a dazzling mess of colors and light, beckoned me.
So much adventure was on the horizon: in the years to come, but even just in a simple Saturday spent biking into the small wonders within the boundaries of our city limits.

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