All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Signed, the Silent Raven
He flies to the East, the Sun to the West
Both joyous, though they part
He’s a bird, with feathers black
But reflects the moon upon his back
With a candle in his heart
That’s where I am at this moment, in gentle harmony with a cloudless evening, and I’m blowing a kiss to my departing sweetheart, the Sun, as the hem of her fiery dress whips past the horizon. A part of me has always preferred the dusk to the dawn, though I know not exactly why; I suppose it gives me greater pleasure to see things come to rest than it does to see them wake. The evening is when the day is nearly concluded, and it is a time to say “what has been done has been done. What has not been done has not been done. Let it be.” At a deeper level, I am aware that the Night is only a temporary thing, even when the Night is Death, and everyone says that the slumber of Death is the very end for us. So I find joy in the understanding that morning follows evening and life follows death. At dusk, I realize the way that time allows for things to die and be reborn, because there have been countless mornings and evenings on the Earth and each may be a blessing for us, and an opportunity to live our lives more fully than before.
Dawn for me, of course, was when I met the silent raven. He was a bird who visited me one autumn day, in silence, and together we watched Nature unfold just as she does every moment, and I learned to appreciate the world as he did, and not spoil it with words where they were not needed nor actions where they were not required. So said raven crafted a nest in my heart, where he lives this very day and continues to give me life, and I’m forever thankful for his presence. When I looked through his eyes and felt his heart beating within mine, I began to live with more awareness of the days, the nights, the seasons, and see how they are intertwined with life to create eternity.
The lunatics from windows leap
They leap from windows high
To unseen arms, to loving arms
With the sonnet of a sigh
Only they are bold to ask
‘Who’s that who hears our cry?’
Through the air, the rushing air
There comes a soft reply
The Raven answers silently
He answers ‘It is I’
Paul Coelho, through the character of a mental patient in his novel Veronika Decides to Die, tells a story of a powerful magician who plotted to ruin an entire kingdom by poisoning a well from which all the people drank with a potion which caused insanity. As he had planned, the entire population drank from the well and went mad, save for the king and his family, who drank from a separate well. The bewildered king, in an attempt to tame his kingdom, issued a series of edicts enforcing reason and security across the land. The population heard of his decrees, and (because they had all been poisoned) thought that their monarch had gone mad and was creating nonsensical laws, so they demanded that he abdicate the throne. Resignedly, he readied himself to step down, but the queen suggested that they drink from the well also, to become the same as their subjects. They both drank the water which caused madness and began babbling and behaving just as strangely as the people, who immediately repented, seeing the return of the wisdom of their king. So the country lived in peace, and the king continued to reign.
Normality is merely the consensus of the majority. Insanity and sanity are nonexistent. We are all crazy in our own way; though many of us seem to be conformed to what society has determined is best. Still, however, there are those who the public recognize as outcasts and oddities and lunatics, and these people are often hated or feared, simply because they live outside of the boundaries created by those who are “normal.” By standing behind the outcasts and oddities and lunatics, however, it’s easier to stand beside that within humanity which exists without borders. The world would be much less frightening if people didn’t try to hide the “insanity” inside of themselves.
I’m a madman, of sorts. My kind of madness has led me to believe that it’s only society which has gone mad, and I’m one of the few sane ones left. But no matter how crazy things get, we’ll always end up falling into loving arms. That’s always been a comforting idea to me.
The elderly so gently weep
They weep in wrinkled hands
As precious pools of memory
Are settling in the sand
And through the whirlwind of death
They hear a holy knell
And for their stories dwindling
They feel their spirits swell
The Raven tells them silently
‘I feel that way as well’
The old and the young watch the day go by, together. But what the old have to offer is what they alone have seen; they have witnessed many days go by, and their children were not yet around to see those days. The elderly have experiences to relive, stories to share. So if they wish to tell the stories, listen! If they have wisdom to give, share in it! If they laugh or cry, do so with them! Because if we live alongside those who lived before us, then we live a little closer to our beginnings; we may touch a past which we could never touch without them, a past which should never be forgotten.
Many of the time, they represent our traditions, and our traditions remind us who we once were, which reminds us who we are now. Change is necessary, change is healthy; but I would hate to see us lose sight of what it means to be human while we’re so caught up with “progress.”
I’ve almost always felt like the world has become too fast, too competitive, too demanding, and too chaotic. Maybe things were still that way in the world of our parents and grandparents, but if we’re in touch with them, we’re a little closer to reaching the brilliant simplicity of the past.
The wanderers in darkness walk
They walk with tired feet
Their silhouettes so solemn
Their quiet dreams so sweet
Like traveling birds, yet bound to land
Like light, but bound to flame
Their footsteps’ task, these ghosts who ask
‘Are there none who know our name?’
And the Raven’s nodding silently
‘I have wandered just the same’
Wandering in spirit, I often become far more absorbed in my travels than I am with myself. The homes of true wanderers are within their hearts, so that they may be at home wherever they go; so I never feel truly lost as long as I understand that peace is available anywhere and that we are never truly alone. So I walk into the night, beneath the stars and with a candle which was given to me at my birth and which I’m proud to carry.
As a wanderer, I can never stay in one place too long or else I stop growing, so I’m often compelled to keep moving even when I’m inclined to stay. It’s difficult to say farewell sometimes, but I’ve always believed that (because of the funny way the world works) there are no permanent goodbyes.
The broken taught him how to love
The silent, how to sing
The naked gave him feathers
The wingless gave him wings
The fire taught him how to glow
The rain, to kiss the earth
The graveyards taught him memory
The children taught him birth
The poets taught him to protect
The precious light within
The phoenix taught him how to die
And how to live again
I realize, at last, that I must surrender myself to the kind of freedom I was blind to when I began, because I’ve been unconsciously searching for freedom all along. I want to live a life which is always silent and always singing, always moving and always still, always laughing and always crying, always dying and always being born. Because that’s how I know that I’m truly able to be alive. My presence in the world is fairly subtle, many don’t notice me at all, but I’m certainly here! And I’m involved in constant perception and constant contemplation, just as the silent raven was.
So I’m going to begin a pilgrimage into the desert, into the wilderness, and into my own heart; in search of the story which I’m a part of. I don’t really know what or who I’m saying goodbye to, but I’m saying goodbye all the same, in case anyone is listening.
“One day you will ask me which is more important: my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life (Kahlil Gibran).” You all are my life: you people who aren’t listening and you who are. You strangers and friends. You lunatics and wanderers. You angels and demons. You trees and stones and fields of grass and flowers and Sun and Moon and starry night. All you who give me life, I send you my well wishes as I take off into the sky.