A Dandelion in an Open Field
One day on a trip through the Pacific Northwest, my friends and I made a pit stop at an open field. The scene was filled with mountains and bluebird skies and endless beauty. The field was all grass with a couple of empty soccer goals lingering on the perimeter, appearing as if it hadn't been touched for a while.
We walked out into the middle of it and sat down in a circle, basking in the freedom of the day. There in the grass next to us was a lone crayon, standing up straight. It seemed peculiar for a single crayon to be standing up in an open field.
I picked it up and read the label: 'Dandelion'.
What a lovely flower.
- - - - -
Reflecting on this little relic of worldly imagery led me to think about the systems of our world - how everything around me in this moment came to be. Who planted this crayon?
I look at a book on my desk; 'Welcome to the Monkey House' by Kurt Vonnegut. This particular copy was printed by Random House Publishing Company in 2006, located somewhere in the US. Probably at some factory that pumps books hot off the press. I bought the book from an online bookstore. Maybe there are 50,000 copies of the version I have out in the world, currently living in libraries or bookshelves or on desks.
Each piece of the book - the paper, the ink, the spine - all came from different places. The ink traces back to an ink manufacturer; the paper to a paper manufacturer; the spine - well, who knows. The pieces then need to be transported to the publishing house by a system of commerce involving trucks, planes, drivers, and the lifting of heavy boxes. Expand each item back another level and we have simple, raw ingredients.
Everything a product of the earth.
Paper is made from wood, harvested from trees that grew up from tiny seeds, planted by the hands of man or nature.
Everything that we experience in this world has been created before we arrived to experience it - aside from the things we create ourselves. And we create new things out of existing things; new ideas spawn from the collection of thoughts and ideas that have come before. It's a vast, vibrant cycle of recycling and refining.
I encourage you to take a look around your room, at all the knick-knacks, paintings, pens, clothes, bedsheets, etc. Appreciate for a moment the grand systems of the world that made your room possible. Thousands of people were involved in helping you create your space and the way in which you express yourself.
That little crayon also reminded me to appreciate the nuances of life as they come. Especially those strange coincidences that seem to be born of nothing but carry an instant meaning upon recognition. These are moments to be cherished. What's sounds crazy probably is; but that doesn't mean it's not true. If you experience something surreal it shouldn't necessarily be discounted as imagination. All that matter is what you gained from the experience.
- - - - -
I put the crayon back in it's place. I'd like to play my part in this world to not disturb the meaningful coincidences. Somebody'll find it someday. Maybe they'll kick it with their cleats. Maybe they'll lay down in the grass and have a revelation.
Either way, it's beautiful.