Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Up ahead I could see her picking raspberries off a bush and transferring them to her mouth, the exact same lady I saw there last week. When I got closer, the full expression of her discontent came through her scowl loud and clear.

There are hardly any raspberries on this bush,” she said, spitting the words at me by way of greeting, her tone ripe with indignation.

I stopped myself from saying that was probably because she’d been at them for a full week now. They weren’t even her raspberries; they belonged to the house on the corner. Granted, the owners ignored this whole side of the yard, allowing the grass to grow knee-high and the bushes to roam into the sidewalk, but still, it takes a certain blindness to be offended by the meagerness of a stolen raspberry.

“Looks like we’re at the tail end of a bountiful season,” I responded, hoping she was getting the fine subtlety of my teachings.

I hustled by, enjoying my moral superiority for about a block before realizing the chances were very good I was just as blind in my own ways, also unable to see what I couldn’t see. These insights about our own blindnesses don’t come along all that often, so it reminded me of a similar occasion, one in which I’d been eaten up by jealousy. I can’t remember now of who or what but it was an envy that had me fully in its jaw before the flash of insight hit, the kind of insight that falls from the sky with no guarantee of coming again. I had to write it down because I knew there would be more envies and other blindnesses to come so I typed it up in an elegant font and printed it off on photo-quality paper to keep on my desk:


Can you imagine the pointlessness of continuing to miss the beauty of your own life, time and time again? The happy moments, the daily luxuries, the untold privileges, the tiny victories?

The lead character in the movie Infinite Storm makes a similar observation. “The universe is an infinite storm of beauty and sadness.” It really is. And can you imagine what a pointless tragedy it would be to only pay attention to the sadnesses, when the raspberries are so lush and in season for just a little while?