Friday, October 27, 2017

The Point: A Conversation

               I was talking to someone today—about what I can’t recall—when they said something unexpected.

                “What’s the point? What’s the point? What’s the point?”

                “The point of what?” I asked.

                “The point of everything.” They looked away.

                “Well,” I said, chuckling nervously.

                A car sped down the street with purpose. We both watched it.

                “Do you ever feel like you’re on a wave?” they asked. “Not the crest, the peak, not on top of it all, riding along. Below that, under. The smooth, rising part. You’re coasting really, but the violence is just overhead, waiting to crash down and push you under. Annihilation.”

                “Oh,” I said, imagining it. I closed my eyes and saw the blue expanse, smelled the salty air. “At times," I said, "I think I have felt like the swell, before the wave builds.”

                “Yes,” they said, imagining it.

                “The idea,” I said. “The movement.”

                They glanced at the sidewalk, kicked a dried leaf out of the way. “But still, what’s the point?”

                “Every day you find a new one,” I said. “Every week you finish something. Every month you figure something out. Every year you grow.”

                “And then?”

                “You keep going,” I said.


                “Because we do.”

                They rolled their eyes. “I suppose you’ll say something about love now.”

                “Sure,” I agreed, relieved. “Love. Beauty. Goodness.”

                “The shimmering ocean,” they said. “Impressionistic mountains. Flowering bushes, fresh bread from the oven, a dusting of snow on the edge of a fence.”

                “Art!” I said.

                They shrugged.

                “People too,” I said.

                “Not people,” they said. “People you can’t predict.”

                I hold out my hands, palms up. “You can’t predict the weather either.”

                “In general,” they said, “you can. The seasons. What’s most likely to happen.” They shook their head. “People you never know.”

                I let my hands fall. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

                “It’s not a matter of feeling,” they said.

                Another leaf drifted down from a nearby tree. We watched as it floated to and fro, at times a gentle falling and then, a swift swoop. We listened to the papery sound when it settled onto the pavement.

                “Better you stay alone,” they said.

                “You can’t mean that,” I said, leaning to pick up the leaf. “Can you?”

                But when I straightened up, holding the dried husk in my hand, they had gone. A buzzing in my ears, a cavern in my gut.

                “You,” they whispered. One last rasp of warm, Autumn air.


  1. I know this voice. A friend sent me this line today ...

    May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder. - John O'Donohue


"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka