Letter 055: Dappled Things

Letter 055: Dappled Things

Greetings, hero!

I think, when I set back and take a second to take it all in, that one of the most astounding things about this life is the sheer variety. I’m sitting here now on a quiet, clear morning, looking at the hills and trees and clouds of every shape imaginable, in awe not only of what it is but in awe of what else it can be. 

Without moving physically—if I were to do nothing else besides sit here for the next year—I would be looking at the same landscape. It would be full of roughly the same rocks, the same hills, the same families of rabbits and squirrels. And yet in that year, it would transform itself so many times over that you could hardly recognize it as the same place.

In just a few years, the sun will begin it’s trek back home, and long shadows and residual heat will have me napping in an instant. And hours after that, the day will clear and the sky will spontaneously combust into shades of rose and gold so similar and different they’ll seem impossible. When it all clears, the moon rises, a still, bright, cold, clear, whisper of a moment where the earth sits on edge and waiting, ready to greet the next day with a billow of breath. 

And that’s not even to account for the weather—driving rain and snow, blustering winds so strong that you remember nature is not only to be protected, but feared. The months change; the same trees break out their fall and winter coats from storage, flaunting them in the knowledge they may go out of season but never out of style. Snow falls, birds take up the time share left to them by squirrels. All of this happened without moving once. 

It’s the reminder to all of us: the world is far less permanent and far more impervious than we give it credit. No sooner can you capture the essence of a day before a new one is upon you. It’s that variance, the sheer variety of nature that forever astounds me, what the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins described as “all things counter, original, spare, strange; whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)”

The only real constant, the only real thing we have to hold to, is the beauty that permeates it all—the beauty of dappled things.

May the road rise up to meet you!

The Mentor