I love running at night.
Actually, I run in the very early morning. It’s the tail end of night.
I love it when it’s dark and the sky is perfectly clear and every star that I can see is shining brightly.
It makes me feel so small.
It gives me a glimpse of how big everything is.
When I run in the morning, except for the passing cars, I am the biggest thing on the road, though.
At least I tell myself that as I move slowly past unseen deer and bear off in the shadowy fields and woods.
It is a comfort to try and make myself feel as powerful and big as I can when I’m plodding along.
I know that’s not the truth…but it comforts me to think that.
Seeing all the stars this morning made me also think about perspective and my place in the world.
I am small.
That’s always interesting to remember that. What quiet ego I have would attempt to make me feel otherwise…but I know how small I really am.
I am one amongst many…another body moving through air…just another.
At the same time, I am huge.
My spirit is boundless…untapped and untried..and willing.
Maybe not able yet….but willing.
I’ve heard people talk about “simplifying your life”.
Usually, they talk about getting rid of clutter. That’s pretty simple…and I guess pretty hard, too.
My wife would say that it’s pretty hard to get rid of my clutter.
Really simplifying your life is hard.
I know guys who if I said that we’re really pretty small in the big picture would argue with me.
“SMALL? I’M A BIG DUDE!!! I’VE GOT THE BIGGEST ONE TON TRUCK DODGE MAKES!!! I’VE GOT A WHOLE CASE OF CIGARETTES UP HERE ON THE SEAT NEXT TO ME…AND THEY’RE SUPER KINGS!! THAT’S THE BIGGEST CIGARETTE THEY MAKE!!! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT…SMALL?!!! I’M HUGE!!! HECK, EVEN MY CHAINSAW HAS A FOUR FOOT BAR ON IT!!! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, SMALL?!!!”
I don’t know about any clutter back at the trailer…but these dudes have simplified their lives as much as anybody collecting books about how to get rid of stuff has simplified their life.
It’s a pretty simple existence…truck, cigarettes, job, satellite dish, and that complete collection of the works of Charles Dickens that they keep above the gun rack.
Just kidding about the last part.
I think that when you make your life small and closed in, you don’t have to worry about blowing your mind with thoughts of the cosmos and our place in it.
You just have to worry about nobody bumping into you on your way into the country store….or getting caught poaching bear so that you can send the liver to some black market in China.
I guess misperception is still a rock solid world view…even if it’s not really the truth, it’s the truth for whoever lives it.
We’re all pretty small in the big picture.
That should take the heat off…we should enjoy each other, help each other…but it just seems to make us scurry in the ant hill a little bit harder, desperate to get another little piece of our little place in the world.
Our triumphs matter…but they’re small given the scale of place and history.
So one runner in the dark…underneath the clear sky and the bright stars in it…gets to feel the gift of smallness along with everyone else looking up and wondering the same thing at the same time.
Maybe that’s the only thing that really makes us big?
Maybe it’s only when we all recognize how small we really are as a group…maybe it’s only the “togetherness” that ever lets us live large?