Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I drove today. There was nothing different from usual. There was nothing strange, weird or wonderful. Actually to the contrary. It was a cold winter’s morning. It was really cold… Also the trees had no leaves. The sky seemed paler than usual, the grass next to the road seemed dried out more than it should be for the time of year. There was a dusty feeling from dry wind and cold and dreary winter as you can only feel at the tip of
In actual fact, what I saw this morning was no different from what I truly hate about winter. As an African, born and bred, raised and part of this continent in the deepest sense. The dust of the earth has formed part of my
DNA through generations I am sure. The cold from the few months of winter is something that almost feels like it goes against the very nature of the dark hot sweaty continent.
But today I drove in silence, a diesel motor accompanying the hum of rubber on tar. Window open and the drive silence that can sometimes be so calming suddenly just swept over me. I realized that for close on two and a half years I have been sober. I realized that for two and a half years I have not had a drink or a hang over or that indescribable sense of loss, regret, self pity, pity for those who have to deal with me, insecurity, self loathing and most of all that sense of something lost that you can not put a name to until you have lived life. After a night of drinking.
I realized in that instant how beautiful this winters day was. I realized in that moment how some must feel when they have a spiritual awakening. I would love to have given it the same name. But I decide to not do that. Every day of my life, it is part of my sobriety and sanity. It is what works for me. And I have decided to leave the rest.
I realized this morning, how beautiful the earth we inhabit is. I stood in awe of the wonderful things that surround me everyday, the mere wonder at how far the human species must have come through millions of years of evolution. The grand scale of everything surrounding me made me realize how grand sobriety was. How it seemed like a massive accomplishment now looking back at time and then realizing that it was no gift… that it was not something achieved from allowing anyone to take my worries away, but that it seemed this beautiful on this ugly day because life and what surrounds us is beautiful. If we only open our eyes and look, look at nature’s accomplishments.
When we look at another living creature and that realization kicks in that through millions of years of evolution the magnificence of each of that animals forefathers’ fight for survival has culminated in what you look at. That is no small feat. That is no small thing. That is something some would like to attribute to a higher power. That is something some would like to believe was created. I believe that those who can not open their minds and see what has evolved around them can not evolve in themselves.
My evolution from drunken Christian to sober atheist has been nothing less than miraculous. It has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride and it has been no small feat. But in the grander scheme of things, hopefully my evolution will result in those after me having less to evolve from than I did.
It is a beautiful morning in
Africa, and it feels like I am home.