One day I caught the sky burning. The rest of the passersby didn’t seem to notice. They paced, one foot after the other, moving forward–wherever forward was. I was in the car, made alert by my stillness and instead of looking in front of me, I reclined the seat and glanced at the ether. It was on fire! Who would believe that the sky could burn and that as it did, forms would be conjured and not destroyed?
Nearing the end of this first month of the year, I ponder this same sky and wonder about burning. Usually, I would be quick to utter anicca, the word for which the Buddhists name impermanence. Sunsets and sunrises are guiltiest of this. There’s a window of magic when the sun arrives that’s equalled only by its passing, just before dusk sets in. Everyday I am reminded of change, of passing, of these certain constants.
But I never think of creation. At least not until now.
An entire theater complete with a full cast of characters unfurled itself on my afternoon sky. Each frame might have captured the same shoddy set of buildings and the perilous array of electric wires, but each shot reveals a different sky–the same one, definitely, but also entirely its own.
Beginning this year in writing, I am opening to the possibility of other selves–past, present, and still to come. I am contemplating burning as a metaphor for the life I ought to live but instead of confronting only the contours of change, I welcome creation as its manifestation.
Yes, I am changing. Yes, it happens so rapidly but as with sun and sky, it’s still me. While my other selves are invariably better than some, this year, I think I’ll strive to stay closer to what and who I am. Unwavering like the sun that always rises and sets but also adaptive as this sky that doesn’t bother itself so much with indifferent passersby–but burns anyway, beautifully too, don’t you think?