Truly Powerful People (350)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

The image is explicit. It is burned into my memory and is immediate, accessible, as if I had lived it earlier today and not over 30 years ago. It was the day I understood silence, the day I brushed against the mystery and glimpsed something bigger to life. It is not profound, an everyday moment, that changed how I understand life and my relationship to it.

It was autumn and I was 14 years old, walking through a Colorado forest, following far behind a group of boys. We were hiking toward a clearing that would become our campsite. I often lagged behind because I liked to hear the sounds of the forest. I liked the quiet that was generally lost beneath the banter of the boys. They were used to my detachment so no one expected me to be present or even within sight. They knew I’d come along eventually. I liked my aloofness because it granted me invisibility.

I felt the temperature dropping and soon the first gentle flakes of snow feathered from the sky. As often happens early in a snowstorm, it feels as if the belly of the clouds descend and like a blanket muffles all remaining sound; nature stopped and listened to the arrival of the snow. The breezes paused just as I emerged from the trees into a meadow and the stillness took my breath and me away. I stopped as nature had stopped to witness the snow’s appearance. Nothing moved within me or outside of me except the silent quiver of the falling snow. There was no separation.

In that instant I recognized how temporary and precious was my life; I was nothing more than a passing moment. My eyes would be open for a mere blink of time. I was standing in the silence from which I’d come and would return to this same silence; instead of being terrifying, it was magical. I was infinite as I was finite. And then the winds returned, the snows swirled and I was once again distinct, separate, a boy standing in the woods.

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