A Bubble, Two Clouds and a Turkish Date

The expanding soap bubble from a child’s wand emerges like one of God’s orbs in the dappled sunlight: a brief, magic, improbable moment. A flitting, daring, pointless endeavor and, for that, all the more beautiful. Then it bursts, a spasm in the sunlight, and one wonders if it ever existed.

Bubbles are made to burst just as sandcastles are made to be washed away. Time is even more pitiless and harsh with them than it is with us. They are given such a small window in which to make their mark on the universe. A bubble’s lifespan is measured, at most, in seconds. In that quick interval it must make the world a better place or be forgotten forever. If it succeeds, it will take its place in the universal memory of good things that have come and gone. It is the most we can all hope for.

Two clouds race above an open plain to the horizon. There are no other clouds in sight, only these two, and they scurry across a sky so pristine it looks as if the world were fresh made. The clouds are a perfect angelic white. The wind moves gently across the sphere of the earth bringing perfumes of faraway places. The sun warms the old stalks of corn just as it warms my body.

There is nothing more than this day: the crisp autumn fields turned a velvety tan at the end of the growing season; the wide open blue sky; two clouds racing to the horizon like colts prancing and cavorting in their elastic game, first one and then the other, to see who can touch the horizon and tumble first over the edge.

I am certain there is nothing more perfect than this light-filled extravagance of beauty. It is whole and complete just as I am whole and complete contemplating it.

Before dinner we sit out on the deck under the trees. Someone has brought dates imported from Turkey. They are laid out in all their crinkly, glistening splendor on a plate that is passed from hand to hand.

Someone points to the far city glimmering in the distance through the trees and the party moves as a chattering, cheerful horde to the railing where they can catch a glimpse of this sight that they all know is there and they have seen before. But they are ready to be wowed again. I stay behind at the table looking at the last Turkish date, its siblings all long devoured.

Looking at it, I smell the crate in which it traveled across the seas. I feel the rocking of the ship. Beyond that I see the rough hand that plucked it and, before that, its gestation beneath the rustling fronds of a date palm.

Such delicacies as these shall nourish the Gods during their stay in this place.

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