Sunday, August 14, 2011

The allure of contrast

Part of the joy of going up to the San Juan Islands lies in the pleasure of driving through the Skagit Valley.  The long vistas of flat golden fields (covered with daffodils and tulips in the spring; veggie crops in the fall) with the mountains hovering in the distance are just immensely pleasing to the eye, as are the barns and farmhouses that speckle the edges of the landscapes.

It's the contrast, I think, that makes it so appealing: the bright yellows against the soft dark blues, the flat fields against the high mountains, and the contrast between this rural simplicity and the urban sprawl that looms less than an hour away.  No matter how much we humans claim to like things to be the same, we are drawn to differences: if we live in the mountains, we vacation on the beach; if our lives are full of drama we long for peace; if our lives are boring we go looking for excitement... and look at the choices we often make in our mates -- often illustrating the old phrase, "opposites attract."

Sometimes I wonder if the hunger for contrast is part of what keeps us moving forward -- but also part of what keeps us stuck.  If we're always moving forward, we're never taking the time to appreciate what IS, never taking the time to drink our fill of the present, never taking the time to learn what may be learned in this moment, but always pressing eagerly toward the next, toward something different. 

I see in today's reading from A Year with Rumi a hint of that same concern:

"I swear by the one who never says tomorrow,
as the circle of the moon never agrees
to sell installments of light.
It gives all it has.

How do stories end?
Who shall explain them?

Every story is us.  That is who we are,
from the beginning to no-matter-how-it-comes-out.

Those who know the taste of a meal
are those who sit at the table and eat."

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Lovely post.

How wonderful that all those opposites can be found together where you live. Just looking at your image I understand why my friends always feel so at home.