It was a fine evening last night. I set out for a walk around my beloved Southsea just as the daylight was slowly ebbing away. Its departure heralded the arrival of dusk, that strange in between time when darkness gently creeps in to fill the void before finally shrouding everything with its inky black creating a sombre silence.
In this ‘in-between’ time, I took Dylan, our black and tan Chihuahua, for a walk. Dylan is physically exceptionally small and yet has the largest personality proportionate to size of anyone,
animal of human, that I have ever met. And he is keen to assert that ego on any and every occasion he might. However, last evening he was comfortable trotting along exploring the sights and smells of the verges and to treat passing quadrupeds with arrogant disdain as opposed to engaging in a barking competition.
As we walked toward the sea, we were confronted by a most beautiful sight. Rising above the horizon and casting an elongated shadow of light across it, was an almost full moon. However, this moon presented itself in the most translucent pink and created a stunning sight. We both paused, although I think I was alone in admiring this phenomenon of nature.
It was whilst I stood and gazed that I was overwhelmed with this huge sense of my own diminutive size against the vastness of nature, and also its constancy against a backdrop of change and human mortality. The moon and the sun revolve continually and have done so from that moment when they were called into being. Whilst our lives are snuffed out in a moment, dwarfed against this monumental staging of the diurnal/nocturnal dance of the centuries.
Indeed, as an aside, it is this growing awareness, aided by the passing of my physical years I am sure, that has provoked me to stop engaging with ‘the news’. This latter is of course not news but rather those things carefully collected, collated and then finely crafted by news agencies before being presented to us, the public, as significant events. We, the consumer, obediently accept this categorisation and presentation. As a result they become the substance of our own conversation and assume a meaning within our own existence that is far beyond and substantive importance they might have. As with beauty, this management of news is purely in the eye of the beholder. When standing in the vast theatre of creation, dwarfed both by its immensity and its longevity, the machinations of politicians and the efforts of sportsmen and women shrink away as a minor irrelevance - irritation even - an insignificant diversion from the main act of life and living.
Returning to my walk and gaup confronted by this most magnificent moon, I realised again how alone I was - any of us are - within this immense creation. I may chase intimacy in relationships; I might seek to make meaning of my life within the interactions such relationships provide (both good and bad) yet my reality and purpose can only be found within the heartbeat of creation itself.
As I stood and stared I was immediately aware of my own mortality, yet unafraid. For many years I think I have pursued relationship for fear of loneliness, and yet those with whom we forge the closest of bonds must eventually abandon us, or we them, as our life fractures and fragments into handfuls of dust. In that moment last evening I was reminded of the intimacy of aloneness - not loneliness. I sensed my own self as a powerful reality, and recognised that the only intimate relationship that would never die was that with the creator and director of this vast theatre of nature. Although unseen this person is not unknown to me. That relationship is indeed the source and substance of the intimacy that lies at the heart of aloneness.
I set out to return home, turning my back upon that wonderful moon, yet deeply impacted both by its visible presence and the mystery that lay behind it and in fact originally gave it birth. I walked home alone, accompanied by Dylan of course, yet I walked home complete. Dylan to date has not shared his reflections with me - but maybe its best if we keep such things to ourselves and simply benefit from the personal enrichment they bring!