‘Saint Peter’s Basilica’ – Rome (Vatican)
Isn’t the world the most extraordinary place? I’ll explain. Take a tree. A single tree, with its roots spreading and fiddling deep into the soil. And its erected trunk that divides itself into branches, and a thousand twigs, and a whole foliage of leaves. The shadow it gives. The home that it is for birds and little animals. And the shelter. And a thing of beauty. To be admired, listened to, touched, felt. The roughness of its bark under your fingers. And the presence. There are millions — most certainly trillions — of such trees that spread over the world to form groves and vast forests. Extending their sheltering embrace to countless beings. And to you too, today. A tree! The strangest thing there is. To look at one is to be taken into a well of wonder. Feel that amazement. See where it takes you. You will be surprised.
And the horse that comes to graze under its shade. Did you ever think of a horse? How could a horse even exist? Who is responsible for its perfection? The fields ploughed over the centuries. The mountain of fortitude under the yoke of man, for the transportation, and in the battlefields. The humility that it takes. And the companionship. The sensitivity. The stately grace. And a thing of beauty. To be admired, listened to, petted, rode. Its gallop as it races energetically over a dewy meadow in the early morning. Where would man be without it? Where, without the mellow cow? The friendship of a dog? The quiet indifference of cats? The flight of a bird? O just think of them: the dear animals! Our equals in being.
And the pyramids poking out from under the gentle mist of the desert. The impeccable geometry. The magnificence. The breath taken. And a thing of beauty. To be admired, contemplated, delved upon. Could we ever comprehend what it cost to build them? The constancy of purpose. The power of belief. And the grandiloquence. The humanity to erect them. The unfathomable toil that it represents. The multitude. Endeavours repeated a million times. For the Taj Mahal or the cathedrals. The skyscrapers and the building of ships to travel the seas. The making of objects, and the making of the machines to produce these objects. The works of art and the ever consuming search for happiness and meaning. The campaigns of wars and the magnitude of sorrow. In every worker, artist, soldier, human being, a man or a woman living a whole life. The parenthood. The bond of family. The tears and the escapes, countless. And the thoughts, the aborted dreams. The suffering, and the pregnant, obsessive conundrums of life. The fear of death. The love that it takes to make the world what it is. O our humanity!
And the silence. The presence behind it all. The womb that is needed for such extensive project of life, with its cascades of living beings. And the multitude of stars. Every star a world with its farandole of planets. And the black holes — nobody even knows what they are. The dancing oceans and the placid mountains. The mystery contained in a flower and a bee. In a single carrot — don’t even think of looking at one! An immensity which no words could ever describe and render justice to.
And God. Does anybody think about God? How he takes it all, allows it all. How she creates it all, embraces it all. The emptiness that is needed to produce such fullness of love. The necessity of infinity and eternity. And the freedom given to every thing and being to be exactly what they are, even in the outmost and darkest recesses of their expressions. Espousing even the ignoble violence, the crass ignorance, and the insatiable hunger.
And truth. The truth of being. Its inescapability and malleability. The extraordinary beauty of it all. The presence of a whole universe contained in a single tree. In the gentle fall of a leaf caressing the trembling autumn. In the quiet repose of a horse in the warmth of a stable. In the immaterial pyramids emerging from a flood of dusty golden light. In the sky of a human mind. Presence is all. It makes the world. It manufactures beauty.
Text and photo by Alain Joly
– Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…
Back to Pages