I've been up for five hours, wending my way west from Wamsutter to Salt Lake City. Sitting at the dock now, relieved of duty for a time, and watching the morning sun light up the snow-gilt eyries between Flat Top and Farnsworth Peak, I recline a bit deeper into the chair and rest my head. Good old Utah. The bustle of industry is a faint buzz in my ears, but between my thoughts and that mountain there's nothing but morning air and sunshine. I'm aware of it now; that much-vaunted inner world. The palace of monks and poets, ascetics and philosophers.
Ne plus ultra. No more beyond; beyond that snowy eminence, nothing but blue sky. And inside, interiorly, nothing beyond the vague and scarcely intelligible patter of a mind finally at something near to rest. Is that right? I know, of course, that it isn't; that beyond that blue sky is an infinity of space and time, of worlds wheeling off into eternity. And within, the deep imperceptible currents of subconscious; the stirring impressions of a lifetime of experience, the fight-or-flight instinct of the lizard-brain, the molecular lust and terror for life and immortality. For permanence.
But for myself, I am content with surfaces. The mountain, for instance, and the idling engine of a freightliner next to me. Red Earth and Blue Sky. Not for me the cant and polemic of theology and philosophy; well, not this morning at any rate. Perspective! That's what I mean; a life lived partially in the academic world of thought and disputation, and partially here--OUT here, out beneath the sun and wind and sailing cloud. A time to partake of the refulgent pleasure of just BEing. The dream of the aesthetic, that's what I yearn for; all the light and power of true philosophy, shot through with the golden sweetness of beauty, form, loveliness and pleasure. Will I ever tire of such vistas?
Could I ever want more than this?
Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
-Henry David Thoreau