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The morning swallowed the shifting lights spread across the landscape.  They wavered and then disappeared as the darkness overtook them.  Clouds blotted out the stars and the rolling fog took care of the rest.  Nothing existed beyond the puffs of my warm breath in the cold air.  The silence of loneliness thundered and echoed in my mind.

Just one of the tricks we allow ourselves to be deceived by.

The lights, the noise, the teeming masses of civilization were still there even though they couldn’t be seen.  But that brief moment when the world goes dark is enough to send our thoughts into waves of panic.  The what of our simple routines crashing down were replaced by the how of the struggle of survival to come.

The entire course of our existence changes in that instant of doubt and fear.

The fog lifted and the glare of our presence, the sheer volume of the evidence that we are here, that we are alive, that we matter, temporarily blinded me with its sharp contrast to the darkness that previously held sway.  The clouds moved on, and the stars twinkled in response and mockery of our feeble displays of might.

Our stubborn ignorance and naiveté are what keep us from slipping over the edge of insanity.

The promise of the sun softened the darkness loitering on the horizon and I fell back into my daily routines.  All was right.  All was well.  My path and purpose in the world were true to me again.  Careers and love and the pursuit of happiness regained their position of prominence.  Nothing mattered more.

Even when the sun blocks our view of them, the stars laugh at our ignorance.

I played my part in our economical game of charades dutifully and then made the reverse trek to the square of concreted nature I call my home.  I hugged my wife and played with my child, emboldened by smiles, laughter and fellowship.  I went to bed content that I was living life to the fullest.  I wanted for nothing.  I mattered.

Just another trick we allow ourselves to be deceived by.


21 thoughts on “tricks

  1. Self-deception seems to be a primal element of our day-to-day lives. I think it’s because life is very prescribed – we need various things that other people have told us we need (like a career or nice cheese). I think deep down we know that we have limited time to do something, anything – and that we do our best to use that time well, but not necessarily as well as we could. And I think that keeps us up at night; the trick, I guess, isn’t perfect. It has holes.

    • I could really do for some nice cheese, actually.
      You are right, of course. Though, these thoughts seldom keep me up at night. The toddler is far too good at that as it is. He leaves no room for anything else to do the job. Life is prescribed. It’s the cure to nothingness, and death is prescribed too, as the cure for life. I know that isn’t what you meant, but the double meaning called to me this morning.

  2. It’s a natural defense mechanism. I think people let in only what they can handle. I don’t think most of us can handle the idea that we may not matter…that we could be a mere spec in the greater scheme if there even is a scheme. We do seem to have an innate need for purpose. We need to believe we matter to get through now. Humans make stuff up to believe just to make themselves feel better. giggling a little at the absurdity of something that really isn’t funny. I guess all we can do, is do the best that we can, matter as much as we can in the now, and try to leave our minds open to growth and enlightenment. Nobody really knows what comes next. I think a lot of us want to though… I know I do. I want to know. So many unanswered questions. smiling to myself now…because soon, like you I will begin my routine, get dressed and toddle off to work and make the best of my day. 🙂

  3. I once read that we are caged by our workplaces, by our homes, by social convention, more effectively than any animal at the zoo.

    And yet we sing, and we know why we sing. So there’s that, too.

  4. Yes, I trudge off to the workplace (or log in from home) each day, and yet there is always something to smile about. I see my sad, dead herbs and tomato plants outside on the deck each day, but today I got the lucky reminder that seed catalogs are on the way for next growing season. Yay! And music, yes music. I always smile when I listen to music on my headphones while working. None of that is life altering but it’s how most of us handle the day-to-day trudgeries of life. Enjoying the moment or looking forward.

      • We don’t have room for a regular garden so we do a mix of herbs and flowers in planter pots, along with hanging upside-down tomato plants that we grow from seed usually starting in late February/early March indoors. My tarragon, mint and thyme always regrow, hoping my wild strawberries I found in the yard last year will produce this year. Other than that I plant cilantro and basil and dill and a butt-load of colorful flowers to enjoy while on the deck while BBQ-ing or drinking or whatever. 🙂 OH! And I always plant a mix of jalapeno and serrano peppers that I make salsa from with my ‘maters, along with green onions we plant in the top of the upside down tomato planters! So many options!

      • Awesome! Sounds like you do pretty good in your planter pots. We never have much luck with herbs… we probably over water. Or under. Or maybe they just hate us.

  5. Beautiful the way your imagery leads us on a sensory journey through your day and perspective, love it. I think it’s powerful in its honesty and the way you tie it all together. ❤

    • Isn’t it funny how powerful the truth can be? We are so used to lies that any time we face a truth it’s like a punch in our guts. Thank you for the compliment of my writing.

  6. Love this. In my 14 hr days at work, people chastise me but i continue without the deception that it matters. I love how you can prioritize and know that you matter.

  7. I think if we stop and think too much about how insignificant one human being is in the vast expanse of the universe, we actually lose our humanity, our ability to see people as fellow humans. They’d just become something insignificant and worthless and then it wouldn’t matter how we treat each other.

    Perceptions that build us up are far better for humanity as a whole than the perception of our possible uselessness.

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