This image was so rich and profound for me I had to share. It is a National Geographic “Photo of the Day”. Please click on the link to read more. He is a shepherd from Iran. His face, his effort, his beauty – completely affected me.
Vacant were the eyes that stared back at me from rotting sills. A wave of isolation and loneliness pervaded my thinking and I pulled back a bit from the train window. I felt the desertion like oil seeping from toxic barrels sinking into my chest. Small town death, I mused and the end of the family farm.
Then the briefest flutter of something at the top window of a grain elevator caught my eye and the thought of a barn owl nesting in the eaves came to mind. How easily this lead to the sound of mice squeaking below the warped floor boards and the pondering of a raccoon sleeping atop an air vent. Bees work to winter in a broken tractor engine, as geese munched on the grasses growing from past year’s feed. My inner vision shifted, just a hair, and I looked more closely as the peeling paint rusting pipes. Something about the decay creating a curious beauty that was consuming all that passed before me.
I see now it was my own isolation and loneliness that I saw in the darkened windows. It was my own decay that pervaded my thoughts. As the pigeons left the rooftop of the silo and squirrels darted along the fence of the abandoned feed lot, I saw it was not life that was missing from these places, it was fear of death that was haunting me.
What if it is all to get us to let go of the cliff ledge? What if we’re all being shaken off our belief we must have security, predictability and knowledge? Every hardship a challenge to the internal structures we create to define who we are, how everything works and what is true and real?
What if all of this is for our awakening? To encourage our understanding of freedom, rather than a lesson on imprisonment. To forget everything we think we know and let go of the ledge. Free fall and trust we will fly. What if it’s the reason we chose to live? We wanted every single moment to happen, because our spirit already knew it could soar.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius