This I Believe

Benjamin - Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Entered on September 15, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I remember going out into a snowstorm and feeling perfectly content to stand and watch the world. The snow was nearly up to my waist and the difficulty of walking made it all the more satisfying to remain still and try to take it all in. As a New Yorker I am accustomed to a couple of inches of snow once a while. But during that winter’s blizzard, the whole city was transformed into a dream. Cars were completely buried, the trees overhead created a cloud-like canopy, and the grey light that got through reflected off my mittens and jacket. Kids whom I had never before seen played outside of their houses and those who had to shovel their driveways created mountains of snow to be made into igloos afterwards. Others threw snowballs at each other while running across the street which had not yet been driven on. Large snowflakes landed on my face and disappeared as if they had never fallen. As an elementary school child I felt that it was the perfect place and time to exist and I stared in wonder at surroundings. Soon my father came out of the garage with a sled and the momentary time freeze was thawed.

I believe, like Socrates, that the unexamined life is not worth living. Stopping to observe is just important as moving. Without a reference to intricacies of still life, everything else is just a blur. I believe that in order to exist in the world I must try to understand what is around me. Of course it is impossible to completely understand why every molecule of snow lands where it does or even why I stopped at a certain point at that exact time to look, but knowing my place in the world helps me to live in harmony with it. Knowing my physical position and what surrounds me helps me put my life into perspective. Alternatively I could walk around staring at my feet and the floor all the time but miss the substance of the journey. I believe that tasks can be accomplished even if I stop to look around. The tortoise doesn’t necessarily beat the hare but reaches the same point and has a better trip. I feel that as a beginning college student living the best years of my life this attitude is especially vital.