I sit here, on this sunny autumn morning, enjoying the passing parade of traffic and people. It is September, my favourite month, and as usual, I am happy to be entwined in its gentle embrace. The warm sun and cool breezes conspire to render me helpless with delight. The trouble spots around the globe, and as usual there is no shortage, do not trouble me here. Right on schedule, September has thrown its temporary paradise over the country, allowing the inhabitants to stroll and greet at their leisure. I observe them with unalloyed pleasure, as only a dweller in paradise can do.
Of course, it is only a shadow of the other paradise, the one we retire to when bodies wear out and souls itch to shift. The one we forget, doubt and deny as we journey with umbrellas through the rain of challenges and suffering that regiments our days in family and society. The paradise to which religions apply rules and entry visas, the paradise that is more multileveled than any big city parking lot, the paradise we visit by night and forget.
Sitting here with my coffee and croissant, sampling the delights of September, I drift into the deeper paradise that underpins our days, the floating across verdant valleys free as a cloud, the midair team games replicated in Harry Potter, the libraries where books float out from the shelf at your wish, the illustrations which come alive in 3D as you gaze your way into them, the parties where people dance with their feet off the ground in gardens so breathtaking superlatives spill over and make themselves redundant, the cities with ever changing light and impossible architecture. How it all seems like fantasy viewed from here! No wonder folk shake their heads when I try to describe, obsessed as they are with their dear departed, so irrevocably dead.
What can I do, as one who knows, with their obedience to pain and their devotion to anger? Chatter about the endless party in the great beyond while they recall emaciation, crippled limbs, ravaged innards and senile dementia? Well, it’s a tough call but someone’s gotta do it, and since it looks like I volunteered before the curtain rose on act one, and the production team is watching, bemused, from the wings, do I really have a choice?
These paradises from which we spring, ready to rumble with all those manic egos fending off wounds and fighting for control, they’ve been there all along as we populate this earth with our tangled fears and ambitions, radiating light and love and beauty, spanning the centuries with their secret bliss as we flail and thrive in the theatrical lies of time, convinced that the generations are getting somewhere, staking a deeper claim as the crimes of enemies compete with our own.
Oases of calm a stone’s throw from the storms they are safety incarnate, rest and recreation in the play of heart and mind. And as we chuckle and remonstrate with each others’ earthly frailties, our radiant selves resurrected and reborn, some of us know that as surely as civilizations rise and fall with seasonal regularity, paradises emerge from that which is nothing, the void of the unmanifest, that their beauty is a dream but the accompanying bliss is not.