Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sleet and the Rhinoceros

Maybe it's just that I've been reading a ton of Thomas Merton lately, but last night, making the 15-minute walk to my car, the (relative) quiet and the (relative) dark made me think to the opening of his "Rain and the Rhinoceros." Almost no one around at midnight on a Monday, with just enough cold to make me pay attention, but not so bitter as to be miserable. Keeping my head down because of the rain, it all came together to enable an almost monastic quieting; without the usual hustle of things to look around at on campus, a purposely reduced influx of information was possible. The little bit of wind felt clean, like it was clearing out some great inscape, making a space big enough for the quiet to surround me. How much more must it have meant in the woods of Kentucky 42 years ago, miles from the hum of machinery and the glare of light pollution, "all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water."

I came in early to the office today, to meet with a student who is considering taking part in an act of civil disobedience against the war, and I found myself sifting through threads of admiration and a little guilt (or ego-bruising) and peace with the means I have to respond to the war where I am, in the class I am taking (Ethics and War), in what I am writing, in my work with the students in my care. If a possibility of civil disobedience in which I believe comes my way, I am open to taking part, but something tells me that to go looking for it would be about my ego instead of taking a stance on something that I think is worth putting myself on the line for.

mercy within mercy within mercy...

1 comment:

mystic and cynic said...

'Alas. Life is too short, Merton is too long.'

Anna Freud

Jesus says: 'Why do you call me good, when only God is good?'

The buddhists, they say: "if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.'