On Epiphanies

epiphany-1Everything you learn has a source, some known, some never, all linked to a moment of absorption or realization.

I prefer realization. It comes from inside you, seeds germinating at last or new shadows formed in fresh angles of particular suns. After all this time anything novel amazes me. That it waits, more so.

Much of what we know is strictly known. Intellectually we accept cells, plant cells have cell walls, organelles like mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum dwell in cells. When mitosis occurs, cells reproduce, and alleles split like puppets yanked back before a curtain falls between them. One is then two. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny (though not so much anymore), and, every seven to ten years or so, every cell sacrifices for its twin.

George Washington was our first president, and he was much loved.

None of it is visible, and so it’s belief truly, better than placing faith in four humors but otherwise not much different. I’ve seen films and peered through microscopes and never truly witnessed.

I remember sitting alone in a library on a Sunday doing Wednesday’s work. I saw a ball fly through the corner of a window. I saw it fly through again, its perfect white arc the path of a planet in a solid blue sky. And soon I gathered books and notes and found my way outside to complete a picture half seen, searching for terminal points. Without teaching, I’d discovered—we are meant to feel pleasure, to perceive with pleasure, to appreciate pleasure, and put aside work (at times) to honor pleasure as the greatest human glory.

Where did that knowledge originate? I might suggest a Guide, an entity outside myself, but, the experience seems broader—a conspiracy of circumstances, a moment meant to spring. That anything so novel arrived amazed me, that it waited, more so.

Epiphanies appear so thoroughly meant, as if knowing isn’t knowing but ripening. It sounds silly in so grandiose terms, but some moments visit unbidden.

And some unwelcome. Wincing realizations slice into your sense of myself, reminders of other mistakes, more half-steps into darkness.

I worry I’m saying what you know and make myself ridiculous by repeating the obvious but want to believe you’re with me. Feeling has more sources than knowledge. Who is unique? At this moment, something awaits encounter, a felt truth never taught.

After all this time something novel waits to amaze.

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2 Comments

Filed under Aging, Anxiety, Doubt, Epiphany, Essays, Gratitude, Hope, Identity, life, Meditations, Prose Poems, Resolutions, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Voice

2 responses to “On Epiphanies

  1. I enjoyed this. Especially the idea that pleasure is what we are meant to perceive with. There are some that might disagree (Viktor Frankl, perhaps) but I am not one of them.
    The idea of a Guide is comfortable because it has echoes of Platonic idealism. But perhaps the idea of a conspiracy of circumstances is more sympatico.

  2. dhefko

    It has become something of a routine for me to catch up on your writing in the brief lull of activity that comes with Saturday morning. Reading this was a great pleasure and at times perplexing. I love the juxtaposition of that sentence about George Washington, which creates a fight in my mind. I love the way it doesn’t explain itself. How it forces the reader to make the connection(s) for herself/himself.

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