“That evening, as I watched the sunset’s pinwheels of apricot and mauve slowly explode into red ribbons, I thought: The sensory misers will inherit the earth, but first they will make it not worth living on. When you consider something like death, after which (there being no news flash to the contrary) we may well go out like a candle flame, then it probably doesn’t matter if we try too hard, are awkward sometimes, care for one another too deeply, are excessively curious about nature, are too open to experience, enjoy a nonstop expense of the senses in an effort to know life intimately and lovingly. It probably doesn’t matter if, while trying to be modest and eager watchers of life’s many spectacles, we sometimes look clumsy or get dirty or ask stupid questions or reveal our ignorance or say the wrong thing or light up with wonder like the children we all are. It probably doesn’t matter if a passerby sees us dipping a finger into the moist pouches of dozens of lady’s slippers to find out what bugs tend to fall into them, and thinks us a bit eccentric. Or a neighbor, fetching her mail, sees us standing in the cold with our own letters in one hand and a seismically red autumn leaf in the other its color hitting our sense like a blow from a stun gun, as we stand with a huge grin, too paralyzed by the intricately veined gaudiness of the leaf to move.”
From, A Natural History of The Senses, Diane Ackerman pg 256
The night before last, we had a rather nice light rain all evening, with several periods of a heavy downpour. Around midnight I was preparing to go to bed when the rain started coming down at a rather moderate pace but less than a downpour. I could not resist. I went out on the porch and sat in the dark and listened to the rush of the rainfall soothe my Soul. I stayed out until a little after 1 A.M. and regretfully came back into the house and went to bed. I gave up an hour of sleep to sit in the dark and listen to rain. Does that make me eccentric?
I hope so. I am beyond caring what the neighbors think—if anyone noticed me. I could have easily just went to bed and dropped off into an immediate deep sleep. That would have been the smart thing to do when one has to get up at 6 AM. Yet had I done so, I would have missed a very deep connection with the world. I would like to think it a spiritual connection. I love rain and when I hear it, it is as though God is whispering to me “Everything will be OK.”
I don’t believe that at death “we may well go out like a candle flame.” I do have hope to the contrary. I don’t have much faith and absolutely no evidence, but I do have a lot of doubt. I genuinely doubt that there is no God or that we are completely mortal…a candle flame for a brief blink in time. That seems absurd to me. It is my doubt that has instilled a belief in God, not any faith instilled by religion, my doubts that all this could be for naught, that we are meaningless beings of chance that merely evolved out of the ooze. I have no problem with evolution being the method, but a lot of doubt that it was the reason.
Human existence is frightfully lonely. We are as condemned as any death row inmate, lacking only the curse, or luxury, of a fixed date. So when you consider something like death, the absolute finiteness of it, is it really all that terribly eccentric to listen to God speaking to me through the falling rain in the middle of the night?