The Undercurrent

Tonight I wandered the property with the dog. It was dark but with a bright cradle of moon, bright enough even through the clouds that it cast light on the sidecut pathway across the hills, and across the valley below dotted with headlights and farm lights. It made shadows out of the tallest sage bushes which are the only ones standing above the snow. We approached the forests from the open fields, toward the dark protective figures of trees, the tops of which were as teeth against the star-puckered sky. As teeth, a lower jaw yawning. The dog stopped and wandered back down the hill following his nose. Coyotes have been through here.

There’s something new I’ve started to do. At the end of my days I ask myself what I have learned. What gem among the rest stands out that I can take with me. Today I learned compassion for an ancient drunk, a true alcoholic, a man of filth and ill-manner but a vulnerability in his eyes. I asked him his name and we shook hands and his demeanor softened. He’s offended many at the gas station where I work and they’ve called the police on him more than once for driving while drunk. He walks now, five kilometers down the hill toward Keremeos to his place on White Lake Road, or he hitchhikes. Anyone of us could end up like this. Don’t be arrogant, by any misfortune it could be you too.

So my mornings start by giving thanks, either intricate or simple. And my nights end with a reflection. Together they envelope my conscious hours and help me to remember to pay attention to the undercurrents of our passage. I’m starting to believe that there’s nothing more to a good life than being aware.

Keep an eye on the world as you move through it.

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