The Celts never doubted it, and surely few peoples ever did. Every landscape, be it snow-covered prairies, bald stone mountains, or green bogs that go on forever to the gaze, there is a sense of majesty that, at the same time, appears to us as infinitely Other, and yet quietly draws us to somehow, intimately, take part in the whole of it. All of Nature is, after all, Creation, and, as even the smallest creation – any snapshot or trinket – draws us to see something of that creator’s own personhood, and to see as the artist sees, the Universe cries out constantly, with sound, or without, to see it, and see ourselves, through the eyes of a greater Artist.
I have stood atop a mountain, two miles high, and felt the urge to throw myself as a soaring bird into the beauty of the peaks below, even as into the arms of a waiting lover. The encompassing swell of the sea has called me with the soft, unyielding power of its waves. The green sod of my ancestral Isle has called to me, “here you will rest.” None of this is unusual. Too many people have felt the same, even gazing at the transcendent colors of an evening’s sunset.
In “another life” I worked as a photographer. I made my money on smaller things – recording the joy of a wedding, the love of a family reunion, or the tragedy of a fire or a tornado’s damage. No film, no matter how fine the grain or contrast, no lens, no matter how perfectly polished, could ever do more for a landscape or a vespers sky than to say, “it was there,” or, “it happened.” The only way to experience such things is just that – to experience them, personally.
In the same way, what little I have experienced, what shards I know, of the Tao’s mysteries can only be known first-hand. The best photograph, the most detailed painting, tell us first of all not of the thing pictured but the artist’s skill at capturing the image. Even so, I must seek to know all I can of this wonder, share what little I’m able, and disappear, so it will be that Wonder, and not this wanderer, filling your own life.