What a piece of work is a man,
how noble in reason,
how infinite in faculties,
in form and moving,
how express and admirable in action,
how like an angel in apprehension,
how like a god!
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 2
Epiphany. E=MC². π. Standing above the tree line on a mountain on a clear day in New Hampshire. Looking up at the star filled sky lying on your back in the middle of a national park in New Mexico and seeing, amongst the infinite numbers of seemingly still stars, one shooting star; a meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere and going out in a blaze of glory. Standing in the shower, alone, as the steam envelops your body and you raise your hands to brush the wet strands of hair from your eyes. Or lying in a hot bath and slipping your head under the water so that only your eyes and nose are out of the water, but your ears are emerged and listening to only the sound of your breathing. Driving through hills or mountains and coming around a bend to an unexpected breathtaking view of the sun setting over the infinite horizon of the Pacific ocean, all pink and gold and blue with sparkles.
Where did it all go wrong?
"I think of the 'Americas' I know--
a whole continent consecrated to greed,
and given over to the rape of nature and the death of art."
-Erica Jong from Shylock's Daughter
We, each of us, have made mistakes in our lives. Mistakes we tell no one, mistakes we hide from ourselves in dark denial. Mayhaps some of those are not really mistakes, rather some sort of trauma we underwent as children, yet perceive as mistakes. Regardless, the mistakes equal guilt in our minds.
This guilt manifests itself in many ways. Self-destruction via drugs, alcohol, sex, suicide, cigarettes, caffeine, and prescriptions. There are infinite possibilities. We may sacrifice our destinies, or if you are a believer in free will, sacrifice our goals for the security of an ill-matched lover. There are many ways to kill the soul and many victims in our world. You may be one. However, these mistakes date back farther than I am educated to fathom.
I cannot tell you when or how or even why. Mayhaps a scholar of philosophy or anthropology or sociology or… All I know is that we got it wrong somewhere along the way as an entire species. Did we know? Do we know now? Will we ever know? Was there one man or woman who held the decision, knew the inevitable consequences, yet ignored them and proceeded forward never looking back on what could have been? What could have been?
Excerpt from In the Now: a Memoir