Forgive me, for I sometimes lapse into moments of Romanticism.

On Saturday evening, after the rain had given way to a sun-filled green afternoon, I decided to take a walk in the Sonoma hills. I stood facing west to a setting sun, with a rising moon behind me, surrounded by softly swaying grass and muddy earth. As I was heading home the sky on my right was a bold orange and red sunset, on my left a soft purple fading into blue, with a giant pearl of a full moon. Each side was so lovely, I couldn’t decide which one to focus on as I drove home. Such colors are transient; would they be so stunning if ever-present? It makes me wonder if sunsets more beautiful in human eyes. Do they reflect our own impermanence, our preoccupation with that which cannot last? Would an animal pause to stare at the disappearing horizon?

Sometimes I wonder how some people are so focused on going to heaven when the world around us can be so beautiful.

Unless of course, God is playing one giant trick on everyone, and heaven is actually the world we already live in, where we are “rewarded” with a certain life. (This might help explain those people who can eat countless hamburgers without gaining a pound…Giselle) The reverse of course would still be true – can you not think of countless lives which could be considered hellish? And if you bring the Matrix into it (which I can’t help doing in many arenas, and the first movie, not the less-effective other two) would we really be happy in a world of eternal perfection? Or would we reject our existence and lose it altogether, like the unfortunate folks who were plugged into the first version of the Matrix, where there was no suffering or unhappiness. 1-2 (2)

The more I hang around this life, the more I realize that the best moments are that more beautiful in the wake of difficult ones. And the more literature I absorb, the more I find that the most profound and sublime thought arises from the relationship between hardship and happiness.

[Note that I am writing this on Sunday night, before the start of a new week. Monday will surely be a fitting example of said relationship…]