In June, 2014, nearly three years ago now, during the last vacation trip we would take together, my former partner and I made a brief trip to Yosemite Park.
On the final morning of our visit, we left the car and took a short hike at an early hour to a lake about a mile from the road. The trail went up a hill and over, meandering down the other side in dense forest and intermittent sunshine, down to a flattened bank and a green and densely populated marshy meadow.
The path followed the edge of the meadow toward a small lake, maybe a hundred yards across, absolutely serene in the clear and crisp morning sunshine. We found a log next to the water to rest and sat silently together.
There was no movement save a dragonfly hovering and flitting on the surface. Then there was the brief flutter of a bird overhead and behind us in the trees. A duck floated out from behind shore cover not far away; then another, and then two more. Then they disappeared. The surface midway across briefly broke as a fish lunged for prey. Then, again. Bright stillness reigned.
As the moments passed, I became still inside as well, more a part of this place, a timelessness overtaking me in which all things take on a soft nature, a stillness that is not really still at all, a shimmering hyper-vivid motionless motion. I recalled another moment much like this one some years ago in which the awesome timeless beauty of every moment was revealed, along with the truth of time itself– that it is no more than imagination, part of the seamless suit of consciousness that we all wear and out of which we may only ever break free for brief random moments. Such moments reveal the sublime and supreme paradox: that everything we know is illusion, here and not here at the same time. All objects appear to have some material nature, yet exist only in some fathomless, timeless insubstantiality.
The sky was as clear as a dream. Even these movements that occurred infrequently, randomly, could not break the silence. No, they were not other than stillness. They were stillness itself, sparkling in movement and sound.
I held her more closely, imagining I was feeling our common essence in the same manner in which I felt the essence of this place, the perfect stillness of the moment, our eternal nature in breathing forms with desires, needs, fragile and unique expressions of an eternal nature, flawed, finding each other for no purpose other than to experience moments like this one, exposing ourselves to be caressed, to fall, to rise, to be realized in the eyes of another. I felt complete acceptance and love for her and for myself.
Nothing else mattered.