I am about 4. It has been raining. I am crouched over a puddle between the road and the grass verge, outside our house in Lincoln. I am fascinated by the scudding clouds reflected in the puddle. There is a feeling of wonder at the majesty of the clouds and their reflections in the puddle. I often go back to look in the puddles again.
Perhaps these are early intimations of transcendence. Later, I experience similar looking out over the sea and the incoming waves, watching a sunset, a rainbow, the moon reflected over the sea, vast land vistas, etc. Abraham Maslow coined the term ‘peak experiences’, which seems to aptly describe what is going on.
At such times I am overawed by the beauty and wonder of the natural world, invoking the mystery of life itself, the unanswerable questions.
I always recall singer/comedian Mike Harding recounting just such an experience in Rochdale, when doing a gig in the 1980s:
“I woke up, went to the window and gazed out over a sea of stars.
I got philosophical and thought ‘What is it all about?’.
Then I thought ‘It’s got bugger all to do with me’, and went back to bed.”
The ego always gets back in control as soon as it can!
Featured image courtesy of Nanie and Wikimedia Commons