Beltane Moon of the Summer Solstice
Here are three instances of amazement, still resonant, still filling my inner world.
When I was 12 (1959) my family went to Stratford, Ontario for the Shakespeare Festival. We camped at Ipperwash Provincial Park a few miles outside of Stratford. One evening I wandered down to the rocky beach of Lake Huron and sat watching the sun go down. As it fell behind the turning earth, the colors lit up the Great Lake, making me feel as if I were surrounded by the lake, the sky, the coming night. It didn’t make me feel insignificant, rather it made me feel part of a great mysterious colorful whole.
I studied philosophy as an undergraduate. In the fall of my sophomore year, 1966, I took metaphysics. After a class about the process metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead, I wandered out of the humanities building onto the quad. The maples and oaks on campus had turned, making the grounds glow with red and gold leaves. Just as I stepped out of the building and onto the quad, my interior life lit up with red and gold. Then my connection to that time and place dissolved. A feeling of calm fell over me and threads linking me to the rest of the universe, red and gold threads going out and coming back in vibrant motion, filled me. The sense of calm transformed into wonder as I knew, just knew, that I was part of all this, all this amazing universe. This was not intellectual knowledge, not a feeling, but a direct knowing. The universe and I were one. I’ve known this to be true ever since.
In September of 1974 I moved to the farm that Judy and I bought near Nevis, Minnesota. One evening soon after I took my fishing rod and tackle down to a small lake set in a bowl of earth with reasonably high sides. As was my usual experience, I caught no fish, but the air was warm, so I stayed as night fell. The Aurora Borealis lit up the night sky. Great flashes of green shimmered up from the base of the sky to its domed center. The same display hit the lake and suddenly I was adrift in space. The Aurora vibrated all round me, carrying me higher and higher and higher, then further and further out of time. I don’t know how long it lasted, but I stayed until the Aurora played itself out.