I don’t know if you’ve ever sat outside and looked at big rocks and mountains and rivers and thought about the fact that they were here long before you and will be here long after you’ve gone. I’ve been thinking about what we actually own…what is “ours.” I have a deed to the land my house sits on. As long as there is a legal system to record that fact and help me defend it, the house is mine. My Dad had a house in the Crestwood area. He had a deed, too. He died one day and another piece of paper said that the house was now mine. Just like that.
I have heard it said that beauty is “in the eye of the beholder.” I know what people mean when they say this but I can’t quite agree. “The flower is pretty” is a statement about the flower, not my feelings. Or so I think. It’s not exactly like the statement “the man is tall.” That statement also has the implied, unspoken idea “compared to average men.” Compared to most trees – not so tall. We need that unspoken idea about the man to decide whether the person who says the man is tall happens to be correct. It doesn’t seem to be the case that we need more than the simple statement “the flower is pretty” to decide whether the speaker is correct.
What do the last two paragraphs have to do with each other. Just this – the rocks and the mountains would be there whether I ever saw them, believed in them, or named them. They are like truth which no more depends upon my beliefs or knowledge than the sun depends upon shadows to prove it exists. What a small shabby world it would be that depended upon my acknowledgement of its vastness, its beauty or its truth to give them substance. I “own” all these things that will outlive me to the degree that I let them set the conditions for our relationship. I submit to reality and move in relationship to it and find I am free. But you can’t take it with you…or can we?