The measure of my distractions is that I have to keep reminding myself that I do indeed exist specifically with the continuums of time and space. This morning, a mild morning in a mid-Atlantic winter, I carried my half-cup of lukewarm coffee to our bedroom door and gazed for a few minutes out into the mature woods that envelop our suburban New Jersey home.
Seeking stillness in the pale sunlight, my attention slowly began to focus upon the wonder of that burning star we call the sun, the prime source of our continuing existence. A slow slide-show moved me through the beautiful blue improbability of the sky, the solid facts of the trees and finally, to the utterly uncommon quality of the commonplace, manifested for a moment in the perfection of a small gray squirrel perched on a garden urn. Opening myself to the agile elegance and the twitchy functionality of this little marvel of physical evolution, noting the tiny, clawed feet and paws, the silky bristles of its furry coat and the panoramic placement of its eyes, I involuntarily uttered a eureka, a “holy shit!” How can all of this be? And immediately springing from that question came the further, far stranger puzzle of what exactly is the source of this sentient consciousness, this transitory self, this capacity that allows this me to grasp, if not actually comprehend, the reality of all these small, everyday miracles just outside my bedroom door, and beyond?