This, I Believe 12/25/06
Believing has never come easy to me.
In the Spring of ‘47, I caught my parents hiding a wicker basket behind a dresser and immediately grasped that there was no Easter Bunny. That split second also revealed the truth about Santa Claus and led directly to a realization that there were probably no benevolent, non-human spirits guiding our lives—nothing to stop my mother’s foolishness or cure my father’s lengthening illness; no one to magically make my sister stronger or help me to be less selfish. When my father died, remaining beliefs slid off me like silky scarves off the back of a chair.
In time though new beliefs were formed. Two that come to mind have stood the tests of my lifetime so far—including the most horrible world events, the sorrows of my friends and family and my own living with the experience of a terminal illness.
I believe in art. That belief started with how awestruck I felt when playing other people’s works on the piano. Sometimes I have to stop to let out a sigh of admiration or a shout of amazement. I think art springs from a hope that beauty can prevail over life’s ugliness—even the most despairing, chaotic works reflect an artist’s urgent wish to tell the tale. In the presence of art, while I’m not certain it will prevail, I do believe completely in its ability to hold the line.
Even though they seem to be slipping away, I still believe in cold, sunny winter days, when the air is new and gently filtered through the evergreens, when nature—transparent and unadorned—fills me with loving awe and the winter silence is inclusive and accepting.
I love the long shadows passing over cold brown earth, bright blue sky behind my visible breath and no sound but wind gusting or ice crackling. I love feeling that kind of aloneness with nature. If someone told me to choose, I’d pick the winter day for what it does for my soul.
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