“Also, God has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
It’s a question of causation: we are designed to ask, “How did all this come to pass?” but denied to have an answer. Nachmu is presently sitting in a room which has a clock which ticks. It also has a view of a large and empty lot which is covered with snow. There it goes: the seconds of my life are being dispatched while the snow lies undisturbed. So I ask the question aforementioned. What is wisdom here, besides madness? I’ll try, anyway:
There is, I think, a little gnome somewhere inside the workings of the clock who possesses a gigantic (to him) stack of post-it notes, upon each little square of which is inscribed two things: 1) a number, in succession, starting with some millions at the top of the stack, reducing in number toward the last little square, which reads, “0”; 2) my name. The little gnome is working feverishly, peeling off each square of paper and disposing of it in a bottomless circular file. He wants to finish quickly, you see, so that he can be done with his labors and dance his little gnomish dance. Then he, too, can rest. Hence, the clock ticks. That’s the only way I can figure the ticking sound.
A few days ago the snow fell in a great heap, piling up, and then the temperature dropped from about freezing to about thirty degrees Fahrenheit below freezing. The little crystals which form snowflakes were squeezed. And then the sun rose.
I was driving north, so the sun was directly behind me. Somehow, each of the snowflakes became a mirror, and, as they flung the light of the sun, I was driving through the miniature sunbeam each snowflake was casting.
If you can recall the moving picture of the Super Bowl, which television cameras captured and broadcast, a panoramic view, the sparkle of thousands of cameras, then you can imagine what I was experiencing. Nevertheless, whereas the stadium was dark and limited to several tens of thousands throwing battery-powered winks of light, the whole world was illuminated already, lying under a brilliant blue sky, with countless millions of mirrors redirecting the thermonuclear fusion-powered light of the sun.
It was the Chinese New Year celebration, in broad daylight, upon the ground.
It was a thing of profound beauty, so simple in its conception and realization, yet so sublime as to drive my pickup truck into the oblivion of another age and existence. Even so, I managed to complete the drive to my destination, where the little gnome peeled off a measurable amount of my allotted time.
One of them will win, no? The snow will melt away and the clock will continue to tick. My time will come to an end, and there will be much rejoicing that another life has ceased to hear that inexorable tug toward non-existence and rot: the dancing gnome of time, victorious. That beauty came from somewhere, though, and I refuse to cede victory to a stupid little invisible gnome who works for nothing and works to make my life nothing.
There was something enjoyable, though fleeting and hidden now; there shall remain something enjoyable, something permanent which caused the impermanent. I am beautiful; in my time I will be found permanently beautiful.