There Must Be A Word For It

During the day, I feel things that have never been taught to me. There are no words for these feelings, no concept for them, in any language of which I am aware. These are moments that happen while in complete solitude, whether physical or mental, where we realize we know much more about the world than we let on. I’ve tried to give them a name, though I know they do not do them justice.


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Midnight Nirvana: You wake up in the middle of the night, and you really need a glass of cold water. It’s four in the morning, and you’re oddly alert. You make your way toward the kitchen, and you catch a glimpse of the outside world. Everything is peaceful, quiet. You hear the rustling of trees in the night, the sound of wind traveling close to your home. And for a few moments, maybe just one, you want to stay awake. You want to take part in a world that most people sleep through. During the day you’re too busy to notice the little things, but in the middle of the night you can take your time. You can experience every aspect of the world, all from your living room observatory. Then, as quick as the moment came in, it fades away, with thoughts of work and responsibilities, with the fear of not getting enough sleep. You rub your eyes, and you mosey back to bed, falling into dreams before you can remember.


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An Intimate Moment With An Animal: You are out hiking with your friends. As your group takes a moment to rest, you head down to the river bank to wash your hands and put some water on your face. You submerge your dirty hands, and bring the cold water to your face. As you do, you turn to your right, and you see an animal. For a moment, you are deeply worried. Your friends are away, and by the time you scream for help, it will be too late. But the animal stares back at you, and you can sense the same feeling of confusion in it. You wonder if you can understand this animal, or better yet, if it can understand you, perhaps even better than you understand yourself, at the most basic, animalistic level. For a moment you are equals, both in consciousness and in your presence in the world. You blink, and the animal is drinking water, and a few seconds later it’s gone forever out of your life. You look around to see if anybody else was there to witness your moment, but as usual, you are completely alone. Nothing but the sounds of the river, the wind blowing the branches from side to side, and your own heartbeat. You dry your hands on your shirt, and you make your way back to your friends.


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Understanding of Failed Perception: You’re sitting in a bistro, casually eating a salad while reading a book, something contemporary. Your friend told you to read the book, she told you it’s funny like Catch-22 is funny, and you’re reading it in public, hoping you find someone else who knows about the book and can confirm that it, in fact, is good. Suddenly, a fast flash of light flows in the corner of your eye. Your instincts make you look up, but it’s too late. There’s nothing up there. Everything is still. You look around for a moment, and then you remember: it’s your watch. It’s always been your watch. The reflection shone across the room as you turned the page, and your eyes, your foolish eyes, mistook the dancing light for something it wasn’t. You smile, and you realize that your eyes aren’t perfect, that your perception certainly isn’t perfect. How many times have your eyes seen something and ignored it? How much have you missed? Why do you keep wearing this watch? You continue reading. A half-page later, you realize you’ve been daydreaming and you go back to the top of the page.

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