"There are so few of us left...There are so few left, so few who believe the earth is enough."
-Harry Middleton, The Earth Is Enough
Melancholy on the mountains tonight. Dusk was nothing short of heartbreaking. I sat on my back steps with a Sunshine beer and bare feet. The sky was layered with blue-black clouds. There was a ridge of sunlight just atop the Front Range mountains, which in perspective looked like a window of heaven, cracked just enough so the sun could squeeze through. I just decided to listen awhile. I heard geese honking overhead, although I never could find them in the sky. They were behind the curtain of clouds, hidden but heard. But just the sound of them settled me; wildness, pure and simple. My neighbor's aspen leaves were shaking. Not the golden, unmistakable quakers of October - no, these were the green, eager shakers of May. I guess after shaking all spring, there's not much left to do but quake in autumn. Their shaking was Sabbath-inducing; gentle reminders that there are moments you contribute nothing to - they're simply there as a gift. Like the geese. And the clouds and bare feet. Actually, my wife bought me the beer, so it was a few moments between day and night that were full of gifts. And they were enough.
One of my best friends told me one evening around sunset, "John, it's all a gift." I've held onto that statement for years now. I believe he was and is right. He's the only person I've ever heard articulate that. Oh, I've read it in books by Wendell Berry or Ed Abbey, but I rarely, if ever, hear anyone say that aloud. It seems to be an incredibly minority position. Possibly the narrow way? The road is wide that leads to destruction, but the narrow way leads to life. I don't always live that way, mind you. Some days I bark at the sun and moon and wonder just what in the holy hell is going on? But every once in a while, and hopefully on a more frequent basis, I remove my shoes and sit on holy ground and hear the still, small voice of geese and Aspen leaves saying, "Be still. The earth is enough." The sunlight winked at me one last time and then ducked behind the mountains. I finished the beer, got up, and went inside. Lord, fill my dreams with geese and leaves tonight. I miss them already.