Friday, December 26, 2008

Observations of the Senses From Colorado

I'm staring out the window at the side of a mountain peppered with tall, green pine, blanketed by a steady blessing of snowfall. A fire is crackling nearby, a small effort to offset the sensation of temperatures that will dip below zero this evening here in Breckenridge, Colo.

After a nap, I'm now sitting in a cozy coffee shop in the heart of this bustling ski resort's downtown, sipping dark hot chocolate. The new mountain view I passed as I huffed my way across an icy road with my laptop bag was so gorgeous I did a double-take to make sure it was real and not painted upon some gargantuan canvas. The sun is out for the first time today, and light is bathing thick clusters of clean snow and Christmas lights and decorations are everywhere .

Yesterday's plane flight from Nashville to Denver was full of sensory observations as well. I watched the dear souls out on Christmas Day like myself saunter by, making their way through security with all those items that have to get shuffled into the plastic bins. We gathered, strangers on Christmas, a day marking an event that bridged the estrangement between God and humanity, with a different flavored but perhaps ultimately related type of powerful faith--the faith that the all-too-human persons flying this wonder of a mechanized bird would somehow, through talent beyond the realm of most of us, safely transport us to our destination. We gathered above a white quilt of clouds, terrible and yet pure in their beauty and their declaration that we had surrendered most if not all of the control we assume on a day to day basis.

I heard the constant undercurrent of the engines, the uncoordinated ripping and tearing of packages of peanuts and pretzels, and the variety of genres I had invested within my iPod. I heard cell phones motor down and, in almost perfect synch with the landing, cell phones power back to life. I heard the music of my 3-year-old giggling as she charmed most of the flight crew and no small amount of the passengers.

I tasted those same peanuts and pretzels, along with a rare soft drink and on a few occasions that same 3-year-old's tender cheek and strands of soft hair as she leaned close to me. I smelled the food and the perfect aroma of the God-given child entrusted to my care, at times feeling her hand on top of mine and feeling me holding her tiny leg during both the take-off and landing.

The senses are the nuts and bolts of concretized life. Such life in the mundane is imperfect. Life is frustrating. Life is uncertain. Life is unfair. Life is maddening. Life is irrational. Life is painful. Life is tears.

And yet, life is wondrous. Life is screaming at us from every angle, every disposition, every shade, every sensory outlet, every person.


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