Where I am not

Mid-morning, after a light, early rainfall.  It is cool, this late September day, but not at all cold.  Surrounded, mostly, by redwoods, sunlight scatters through in places on the ground.  A few insects are on wing, in this clearing; one in particular, a moth or a butterfly in the distance, seems ecstatically happy.  A sole pigeon is out of eyesight in a cascara tree, but the fluttering of wings can be heard as it browses among the thinning leaves for those favored cascara berries.  A slight movement of the breeze shakes loose—from leaves and needles—those raindrops reluctant to join the earth; some of the yellowed leaves plunge, freeform, with them.

The clouds are an attraction.  They were at first daubs of gray against the light blue background.  They moved toward my left, nearly as slowly as the minute hand on a clock.  And, throughout, they maintained their integrity, without changing form as clouds seem usually to do.  Beneath them, a slight film of wispy cloud moved, more quickly, in the contrary direction.  Soon, this lower strata had disappeared.  And, to my surprise, the daubs of clouds were moving now toward my right; they had become looser, cottony, and seemed to want to conjugate with each other, as clouds so often do.

They are not under control, in any meaningful pattern as we would define it.  Their movements are not to be predicted.  In that, partially, is their beauty.  They are not intent on any particular thing, changing their direction to meet changes in the circumstances around them.

World peace is here.  I ask myself why it happens to be in this particular spot—but not, according to the newspapers, in the rest of the world.  There’s the same blue sky.  The same stuff that all clouds are made of.  Tall, silent trees doing exactly what trees do everywhere.  The sounds of birds and bugs going about their daytime work as if it were their coffee break.  There is the dampened brown earth, with some ants in sunlight, some not.  There is a human, sitting quietly in a canvas chair in this clearing, watching a cloud that is moving in two directions, away from its center, in the same moment. 

There is peace in this solitary spot on the globe because, basically, there is “no one” here.  The human, who is merely part of the landscape, has no agenda, no ideas, no intent or motivation; he will not be rising from his chair in a moment to attempt to control something, to influence or change anything.  Where could he begin to make any changes that would lastingly improve on the situation?

This morning air, now, could not smell more delightful.