“Turning Plato and Hegel on their heads
I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely,
that man is a dream, thought an illusion,
and only rock is real.
Rock and sun.”
— Edward Abbey
You get so caught up in the hysteria. The world revolves around this thing that is gripping the world. Nothing else matters.
But then you find yourself sitting on a rock on the edge of the world while Mo wonders if a lizard has just crawled into her shorts or if she’s just happy to see you, and you remember for the millionth time.
We’re just like the lizard. We’re only here for a little while. Our joys, our despair, our experiences that seem so important are not. Maybe the vermin will get us, maybe a 2.33 mile run, maybe one of the 30 trillion cells doing a conga line in our body that decides to step out of life. We’re going to die.
But after we’re gone, this rock will still be here. And this sun. And for a couple of hours on a May afternoon on which we may or may not have broken curfew, we are real, too. The overpowering silence, the endless view, the wind wreaking havoc on our baseball caps, the raptors dancing in the thermals. A brief, glorious respite from the madness.
“We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis,” Mr. Abbey said.
We create the illusion that we’re important, but as you gaze out at forever from the top of the world, you realize we’re not. And because of that, maybe we are after all.
Rock is real. Rock and sun.
You sit quietly, immersed in the vastness of the world. You don’t know how the story will end. But you know when it does, this rock will still be here.
You drive home with a new hope, even if it’s just an illusion.
Mostly, you hope there’s not really a lizard in Mo’s shorts.