autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Lessons of the Sun


We were beautiful imperfections. All those moments of sharpness pressing on flesh, mental knives testing tensile strength and outraged yelps when passing the boundaries of testing into cutting; it never occurred to me that you could possibly be acting in deliberation.


Endlessly forgiving, I would wrap you in my arms and soothe you by telling you it looked much worse than it was and no, it didn’t hurt, and then, make jokes about the patterns of crimson, splattering, until you believed it, too.

It never hurt until I discovered the whispering hallway in which your voice carried as you relayed to others a very different story. I did not recognize myself in that story, but it was my name that wafted coolly through the vents and wriggled under my skin; my name said in pointed letters tipped in ice that pierced me, landing like spiny rocks, swaying hard and heavy.

It was as if I caught my brother laughing about me to his school chums. It was walking around a corner and finding my father calling me clumsy, stupid, and graceless as he regaled his co-workers of the latest. It was floating on a cloud of shared understanding only to fall through and down, down, down, onto rocky shoals of an alternate reality.

Even so, my foolish instinct was to prove to you how inaccurate it was… show you intention and explain everything in excruitiating detail so you could see… as if such things are possible.

As if the sunlight and warmth could be captured in concepts, in words, and conveyed. It took years for me to understand the impossibility of it. My teacher was the sun itself; brilliance and warmth and light and all of it, silently given and never, ever explained. I wore myself out screaming to the sun all my befuddlement, all my questions; I demanded answers as if the sun owed me at least this. The sun taught me the truth of things and did so without ever making a sound, a powerful, precious guru.

Silent lessons, recursive learning, mirrors sparkling from leaves, from rivers, from raindrops, from my cheeks. All my pillow-whispered angst no more or less real than those stories in the hall. The sun was still the sun, no matter who might name it “moon” or “star” or “silly, gas-filled rock”.

My understanding is still flawed of course; I still labor under the delusion that what I see and feel and experience is “Sun”. But in those rare moments of silence, of surrender, I sense the greater truth of imponderables and impossibilities; my tongue is a clumsy bit of mud, my hands are incapable of shaping it.

I love what I know as “sun” and have learned that this has nothing at all to do with questions and answers, with challenges and proofs. In the vast, unending silence, I savor that lofty, distant warmth and the ache of uncertainty and humanity and wishes infinitely unmet are assuaged by the assurance that passive presence provides.

Does the sun ever think of me? I laugh at the ego of the question. No, of course not. Nor need it do so. I have seen the results of the sun’s focused attentions and have now the wisdom that once I greatly lacked. I bask in the warmth of unattenuated beneficence and savor the rays that caress me softly and impartially.

So too, do I remember you; in the same ways, I still savor. Every “us” or “we” or “you and I” is encompassing. So too, do I honor you; in the same ways, I still leave flowers. Every “us” or “we” or “you and I” is encompassing.

Within the boundaries of this sky, we are sun and moon. Within the boundless infinitely beyond what we know as “sky”, we are one. As are we all.

We are beautiful imperfections. I never knew you; I always loved you; may the sun, softly shining be my witness.