Before … He could see the sky with the noon sun … piercing sun and bright blue skies … rocked by the wind and the waves of a deep blue ocean … the waves’ foam in his face … or the amazing dancing of a Manta Rey surrounded by sharks down into the blue … terror and courage … which was the decoration of his life … scaring but also full of charm and magic. He had always thought: “Nature doesn’t lie and you can’t lie to Nature. Nature isn’t created in the image of man’s compassion or taste. In front of it … either you are who you are or you are not.”
That was before.
Now, more and more often, he would sit by the window gazing at the play of light over the leaves of a big tree shaken by the wind … “How cool it is to look out the window!”… He liked to look at the sunset … almost every night he looked at the sunset … and tried to draw the last ounce of heat from its long day and send it from his heart to her … his companion … the woman of his heart … to his kids … and to the rest of the world.
He was like that … he had seen many things … he began to know what life’s about, very early in his life … he had been there … he realized he had had many lives and numerous experiences of all kinds … from which he had tested his mettle and quickly evolved … but he stubbornly kept thinking that he was just a simple man. He didn’t know what to think of himself … he often thought he was nothing but Plank’s mass … 21 micrograms … a grain of sand … and he laughed like it was “who’s on first?” …
“It’s weird how age kicks in certain things in the brain” … he thought to himself. “It’s weird how life works … from a sort of wild life to full consciousness” … He had made that trip from goats to grapes really too quickly. That thought kept going through his head over and over … but he had always known he was not an ordinary man. He remembered he always felt … regretted being like that … it had always been a burden to him … as well as he regretted not having been a good enough father to his kids. He remembered his parents as well … but he didn’t want to remember them … he had always elevated them in one way or another … out of love … not out of reason. Still … he realized he constantly fell into their same errors … before realizing how things really stand.
He still was strong … but at the same time, he was feeble and somehow even fragile but still very lucid. He had always been aware of his inner power which he trusted above all else. Since the beginning of his journey … he had become increasingly aware of how extraordinary this force was … he always tried to give something to others … especially his own way to understand the world and the meaning of life … easy .. logical … simple … because he knew that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication … he knew that “rare are the people who use their mind, few those who use their heart, and unique those who use both … as the Nobel Prize Rita Levi Montalcini once said. But now … he felt his purpose was ending. He thought: “Time is an illusion … but it’s a reality for us all. I have to deal with it, whether I like it or not.”
Often he used to speak to himself … it was a sort of outlet for him when he was alone … like the time he entertained his readers with the story of his life and his enthusiasm … Mr. Doe … who was talking to himself on the boat deck. He hadn’t any agenda, he told the truth, he only did that to inspire others.
While he was at the window, he would think: “We can’t find our rosebud on this planet … and perhaps we will never be able to untangle the ball of yarn of this life … we are way too close to the things of our everyday life … to see the big picture … and even if we were able to see it … it would be too big for us … too much light … Maybe that’s why we can’t see it … it would make us blind. We have to walk slowly over to … other things … no one can see over their own height … no one can see in another any more than they have in themselves … no one is as tall as a mountain … to see beyond the horizon. Even if someone was … they could see more … but only up to a certain point of the Earth’s curvature … so … we are who we are … maybe the fact of our famous and reviled “small backyard of our ego” … is not that bad after all … we’ve got to grant something to ourselves. We are entitled to ourselves and we have the right to be ourselves. We’ve got to grant a praise of imperfection to ourselves.”
These were the things that were going through his head … looking out the window.
He was getting old and he felt it. Age was changing him. He had never been shy about speaking out … taking a clear stand or giving credit where credit was due, whether they were homeless or presidents … but something was creeping up on his brain … It was not compassion … it was not resignation because of the onset of age … it was something like a kind of sense of logical inevitability of human things. He had come to a weird sort of well-thought-out acceptance …
He kept looking at the trees and leaves moved by the wind at dusk … but his mind kept coming back to one thing … “ultimately, what I have done? – I have never resigned myself … I have never surrendered to mediocrity … I have always felt the need to get out of that ‘gray area’ where everything is habit and passive resignation … I have always cultivated the courage to revolt … and then I even tried to change people for the better … okay, trying to change people for the better or bring out the best in them … is admirable and positively thrilling … every one of good sense understands that we need a better world with better people … I did”, he thought to himself. “But in the end, whether they understand or not, maybe no one should discard anyone … even the worst individuals, in the sense of understanding others … not to excuse them or justify their actions, of course, but only for the purpose of understanding.”
Something came to his mind … a phrase from Metastasio, an Italian poet: “If our inward griefs were seen written on our brow, how many would be pitied who are now envied!”
“Yeah,” he thought. “Everyone has their due place in the order of nature, even though they are very wicked, stupid or contemptible or ridiculous. We have to accept people the way they are, as an unalterable fact — unalterable, because it is the necessary outcome of an eternal, fundamental principle: people are who they are or who they want to be. You can’t run from this concept … There are good people … there are people a bit of this and a bit of that … and there must be fools and rogues as well in the world … and in the end … there are people, however they are.”
He kept thinking to himself: “If we act otherwise, in the sense of refusing to understand others … it would be like a sort of injustice, in a way … because no one can completely alter their own peculiar individuality, their moral character, their intellectual capacity, their temperament or their body; and if we go so far as to condemn someone from every single point of view … there will be nothing left to them but to get worse and worse; for we are practically allowing someone the right to exist only on the condition that they become another person — which is impossible; their nature forbids it.”
His mind reeled with thoughts … but he was not depressed at all … He never saw things so clearly as now, in front of that window.
He saw very clearly that his descent was coming … he felt it. But this was helping him in a way … because his reflections led him somehow to justify the end … “after all” he thought: “we’re all travelers in the path of life, none of us have a fixed home on this earth, we all have to leave”… so he thought with some self-irony … “all the courage and the cowardice in the world … all our posturings, our imagined self-importance … all the joy and suffering of the world … all our intelligence and knowledge …. all the folly of human conceits … all of those who became the illusory masters for such a short moment of a life … all creators and destroyers of civilization … mean nothing in the face of eternity, death and oblivion – and they all end up the same way, small and big. That’s the deal … that we cannot evade.”
He clearly saw that the one real thing worth making an effort is living life, accepting it, whatever it may be, loving, doing what it is possible and leaving a good trail behind … and being aware of the responsibility, intrinsic to ourselves, to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish our mother Earth. “After all,” he thought “it’s the only home we’ve ever known.”
For some time he seemed lost in thought … “okay … I have to deal with my age, after all my body can do whatever it wants but I am not my body; I am my mind.”
Night had already fallen when he heard his phone ringing … that was her, his companion on the phone … He was so happy to hear her warm and cheerful voice … “I love you” he said … she said: “hey, you Mr. Doe, I love you too … what are you doing?” – He said: “nothing my Love … I was waiting for your call … I was at the window” …