I stooped down over the soft grass, which spread out thickly over the park expanse, bright in the midday sun. Brushing my fingers through the swaying, twisting weeds, I let out a sigh. Grass felt so cool and fresh when one truly took notice of it.
Overhead the sun blazed brightly from a lucidly-clear, blue sky. I looked up, and for once I noticed how vast a distance the sky truly extended. In sheeted waves it seemed to envelop everything in its warm embrace. Tall, monstrous, steel towers tore and thrashed at it off in the far reaches of my vision, but even they failed to reach it. All of man’s accomplishments seemed like nothing when compared to the majesty of natural life.
Straightening, I inhaled deeply. In that breath I noted every perceptible flavor which accompanied the air, sampled each intricate blend of taste and smell as it entered my lungs. Freshness from the trees all about, exhaust from the city, coolness from the water, I could taste them all. Even those smells and sounds, which had before seemed imperceptible, at that point screamed aloud of their existence.
I stood, and brushing dust from my knees, I took another step. Softly, the earth indented under my weight. And I longed to remove my shoes, and to race across the sprawling lawn like a child.
Almost irrepressible, the urge to feel the solid, immovable earth beat beneath me drove me into a jog. Soon the jog changed to a run, the run to a sprint.
And I gave into all of the emotions which overran my soul. I let the joy bubble forth in laughter, felt the heartache run out in tears, let the worry and tension shake off of me with every stride. As it fell from me, I pushed myself to run harder, to free myself entirely of the dreadful anxiety.
Passing a tall oak, my eyes picked out a gray squirrel among its branches. Never before then would I have even noticed the small animal, but at that moment my senses marveled at any stimulation or reflection no matter how minute. I stopped running, and I stood beneath the tree panting. Then glancing up at the frail creature, I said, “Life, it’s so beautiful…”
I must have looked like a madman, standing there in a half tucked in dress shirt and a tie which had turned around backwards. Grass stains speckled my white dress pants, and scuff marks marred my shoes. And I did not care. All the people about me, those people who just stood and gawked and babbled, they meant nothing. In all creation, only two things mattered: I lived, and I knew I lived. Everything else merely exemplified and exalted those facts.
Running once more, I passed by an old man playing chess. And for once I appreciated that simple scene. I saw one of a past generation taking pleasure in something which was old, meaningful, intelligent, and cherished. Realization of the vitality and life which even the old possess only served to make me treasure my own life more, for I realized that I had nothing to fear from time. Time could only bring me death, and death had already approached me once. So I knew that when death came at any future date, I would count myself lucky for having lived that long.
Passing a young mother, who stood with her child in her arms, I saw new life. And I saw the vitality of new life, the tender, innocent beauty of a baby, which by its sheer simplicity and innocence carries its own vitality.
Then I came out of the park, and I stepped onto a hard sidewalk. I looked at the towering structures about me. Their angular, perfunctory corners carried a certain amount of orderly beauty. Mankind’s creations had life too. They held beauty and intricacy; they could not rival the majesty of God’s creations, just as a dog’s life cannot rival a man’s. But nonetheless, like a dog compared to a man, mankind’s creations still held a beauty separate from that of God’s creations.
To reassure myself of reality, I drew forth and read the clean bill of health issued to me that day by my physician. After the accident they had told me that, if by some miracle I lived, I would never walk again. But I walked, and I ran, and I LIVED!
Reaching deeper into my pocket, I drew forth the small velvet casket which I hoped enclosed the symbol of my future. And I headed down the road towards Ellen’s house. In my realization of temporality, I recognized what a blessing God had bestowed on me with life; and I never wished to waste any of it again.