As I walk along the roads I wonder what I am missing, what I don’t see, what I don’t feel. I know there’s a lot more there that I am not aware of. What secrets are hidden behind the trees and bushes. I think I am aware, but aware of what, only the surfaces and not the inside. There is so much more that I know I am missing.
I am a great lover of microscopes and have several of them. I feel they help me see some of what I am missing. Some of my paintings are based on what I have seen while looking through them. I also like to explore the night sky, especially in the winter when the sky is filled with places I hope to visit when I shed this earthly body. I am aware of part of all that I don’t know. Believe it or not, these are my relaxation past times, the small world of the microscope and the larger universe of the stars.
My personal belief is that someday we will look into the ultimate microscope and see almost exactly what we have seen in our telescope. “As above, as below.” Yes, I do believe that this discovery will only be the beginning of our questioning world. Science not only provides small answers, it opens the door of our minds to more and more questions. For every answer, there are millions more questions even about the answers we have revealed or better stated has been revealed to us. I have trouble looking at the whole picture. I become overwhelmed by it all and all the things I don’t know. All this could drive a person of high intellect crazy. The good thing is I am not of a high intellect. I am a simple man with simple thoughts. I know that I don’t know. I have interest in what I don’t know but not an obsession about it.
I can exist in my realm of a little knowledge. In fact, I can actually enjoy not knowing — it helps me to live and exist in the moment and not be cluttered by my past nor my future. I am happy to be in the now. I may not have much of a future in this realm but I have this moment and I can choose how I use this moment. I can plan for a future but not to distant, maybe a future in which the plants I have planted in our garden will grow and yield food for my table. I think it’s a miracle to watch a seed turn into a big plant and yield food in such a short time.
In my personal inner life, I try to lay seeds out for others to take and grown, a seed that will help them feel better about themselves. We see bad, we experience bad, but we don’t have to live in the bad. Sometimes the actual bad only exists in our minds.
One night when I couldn’t sleep, I woke up in time to hear a program on TV regarding a Holocaust concentration camp survivor. I think he said he played a musical instrument and that was why he was kept alive. Well, in what most of us would consider a hellish situation, he realized that he couldn’t change his circumstances, but he had control over one thing, how he reacted to it. That was the only thing he had control over. I do not remember his name, only his message, but his message helped me through some very hard times in my life. This man planted a seed in my head that helped me. Now I try to do the same for others. I help plant seeds. I don’t know what kind of garden will grow or even if it will grow but that’s not my job. I plant seeds of knowledge where and when I can. If it falls on the right soil, it will grow with care either from above or from help of others.
I was fortunate I had many helpers and guides throughout my life. I was not strong enough to do it all alone. One of my main constant guides has been my wife of over 50 years. When I would get sidetracked she would let me know. This is why if you are not a very strong individual who can and wants to go through life on your own, it is vital that you find a partner who will help guide you through the years.
So I walk along the road much slower now but the small steps help me see more of what I had missed before. I have to stop more often than I did, but again I see more, I feel more. I am more a part of everything and soon I will be actually part of everything. I ask that my ashes be spread over the earth by the wind. May part of me that is left nourish something along the roadside and down the path of someone’s life.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at (740) 852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.