22 Mar The Beauty of a Rainy Morning Just Like Any Other
THE PATTERING SOUND echoed throughout the empty station as a gentle rain fell upon the thin tin roof. It rained all night and through the morning. I sat on a bench waiting between two opposing platforms on the outskirts of town.
It was Saturday. I was headed to work. A pale grey light spread throughout the station, brighter in some areas and darker in others; it didn’t feel heavy, however, nor depressing; the light seemed delicate.
I felt strangely at ease by the sound of the rain and the subdued nature of the station.
I’m content with the way my life has gone, how each step has led me, ultimately, to this platform in the suburbs of Osaka.
One other person waited for the train. I wondered if I was at the correct platform, checking over and over, looking up from my book, the rather ambiguous sign denoting the direction of the train. I was pretty much sure and would confirm when it arrived.
I held The Story of Philosophy in my hands, turning slowly the soft, faded brown pages. On the front cover of the book hangs my small, orange and prismatic pen; the black and white bookmark which came with a book I bought in Tel Aviv emerges from the crest of pages.
The components of the setup make the whole. I don’t carry a bookmark, a pen and a book; rather, carrying this complete entity, I’m impelled in good spirits, irrespective of where the wind blows me.
Holding the book in my hands makes me feel like me.
The separate components represent the facets of my character: writing, the pen; travel, the bookmark; learning, the book. It doesn’t matter the title on the cover.
I looked beyond the platform at the yellow and red flower bed, prominent amidst the wet green grass; I watched the few lax strollers crossing the tracks shielded from the weather by black and clear umbrellas; the dangling phone lines crisscrossed and commingled with the landscape of the grey sky, and the iron red tracks escaped from my view in both directions.
Minutes before my train arrived, I read the following line by Frederich Nietzsche who describes the moment inspiration struck for him to write his greatest book:
“I sat there waiting — waiting for nothing,
Enjoying, beyond good and evil, now
The light, now the shade; there was only
The day, the lake, the noon, time without end.”
Reading these words didn’t exactly light a fire in me — rather, they simply said: life is peculiarly magnificent, isn’t it?
Here you are on a bench in an empty station, listening to the softly falling rain on a Saturday morning.
Suddenly you come across these words, written hundreds of years ago by one of the greatest thinkers of all time. Yet they’re so plain, so clear, so crisp and awakening.
They’re for you.
Life doesn’t need to be so complicated.
Yet it is, or at least can feel unimaginably so; but we can make it more simple, can’t we? Once we start to understand ourselves.
In this moment, I was inspired just as he was. Not to write my life’s work — I don’t think. I was inspired to question who I am and what my place might be in this world.
There’s something within me which I carry.
It’s not the book or the bookmark or the pen that makes me who I am.
They represent what I love; they evoke my inner being, but it’s just paper and a pen, the tools I’ve chosen in this season to help me navigate the seas of life.
And it’s that life itself which moves me so.
It’s life I long to appreciate in all of its capacities — even when it hurts, when it stings, when it breaks us; even when it seems so trivial, yet in reality is anything but.
Even when there’s much to do, or nothing at all. Even waiting for a train, again and again, going through the motions like everybody else.
I cherish the motions, for life is nothing but motion after motion; I savor the endless test to discover what makes life worth living.
It’s not only happiness we’re due — it’s not only happiness we want or need. It’s experience, growth, and ultimately an understanding of the ebb and flow of the life force inside of us.
We may begin to live a joyful life by understanding what gives us energy and what takes from it, cutting down the inessential until we understand who we are at our core.
We will change. We grow every single day.
Yet there’s a heart beneath it all, a consistency we sharpen — an essence. If we understand our own fundamental energy, the world around us can change, yet we’ll still be able to smile amidst the storm or enjoy to the fullest a walk beneath the sun.
Life is beautiful when we can appreciate it all.
Life is beautiful, and all deserves to be appreciated — both in the outer world, and within.
It’s easy to say, harder to embody, worth striving to see, endlessly.