“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
I choose option two. But in days of darkness – news of yet another mass shooting in the U.S. (in the most sacred of all places, a church) and the dreariness that accompanies our annual fall trek through leaden skies and shortening days – I personally need reminding that miracles exist.
And my Higher Power did that for me about a week ago. I was driving alone, early on a Sunday morning – which has a certain amount of reverence to it, yes? I was heading to my granddaughter Naomi’s 4th birthday party breakfast from our lake house and the dial was set to Sirius XM The Loft, a channel I don’t always listen to. I felt I was on a mystical journey listening to performers I didn’t know – Bryndle, who sounded to me like Fleetwood Mac – and others I did know – Van Morrison and Miles Davis. It was to the strain’s of Davis’s trumpet, cruising along an angled country road I adore, watching dark clouds begin to break and allow slivers of bright sunlight to poke through, that I saw her. Or him. Right there in the ditch, staring at me, pouncing up and down on something. A bald eagle!
Now I don’t know what bald eagles mean to you. Maybe you see them all the time, or perhaps you’ve never had the pleasure of making one’s acquaintance. Years ago, when I used to do my grief-stricken walks on the trail around the small lake near my country house, I’d be watching for eagle sightings like a hawk. Ha. The odd time – very odd, maybe two or three? – I’d spot one, high in the trees that border the water. I’d just stand there, eyes and neck straining, waiting for take off. Wow. I’d watch it soar, wishing I could do the same. They’re majestic birds. Powerful. Awe-inspiring. That’s the reason they were chosen as the emblem of the U.S.
They represent freedom. An eagle sighting, for me, is truly miraculous and I walk as if I’m soaring for the remainder of the day.
So, on that Sunday, I had to turn around on that narrow country road and get a better look. I managed to get a picture, albeit a grainy one, as she (it was of significant size and I’ve just learned that female bald eagles are a third of the size larger than males) reluctantly hopped away from her prey. We regarded each other for a while, then my cell rang, so I left her to her future feast.
I drove on, chatting (Bluetooth, so safely) with my sister for a bit, then a song I’d never heard before, Everything’s A Miracle, by an artist I’d never heard of before, Greg Trooper, came on.
We walked through the heat of the city
Till the sun finally set and let us be
And I said babe, oh my child, that’s not a miracle
But she said everything’s a miracle to me
And Trooper’s voice and guitar sounded simple yet heavenly. And the song and its message was perfectly timed to end as I arrived at my destination. Oh my.
To walk through the heat of a city? To feel and watch a sunset while strolling hand-in-hand with your lover? What are these things, if not miracles? What is existence – for the brief time we’re blessed with these unbelievable bodies from which to experience it – if not a miracle?
I discovered, sadly, that existence is no longer a miracle for Greg Trooper as he passed away of pancreatic cancer on January 15th of this year, two days after his 61st birthday.
His message stays with me. The protagonist in Trooper’s song opted for “nothing is a miracle” and cut that girl loose, seducing him the way she was, with all that magic and mystery mumbo-jumbo. And I’ll admit, I used to be a bit that way too, a realist adhering to the dictionary definition of miracle: an event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a divine or supernatural cause. But realism is kind of dull and completely useless in times of trouble. But wait . . . Random House has a second definition of miracle: a wonder; marvel.
Pablo Picasso agreed with Einstein and put it this way: “Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar.”
We all dissolve eventually. I see Earth as a dear mother, patiently waiting, always, to swallow back up her precious treasures. Before She starts taking us back, doesn’t it sound like fun to try to consistently view life – as a child does – through eyes of wonder, eyes of marvel?
Website photo is of my grandson Beau looking at life through eyes of wonder, marvel and a gold #4 balloon.
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