The poetic city: “Meditation Under the Oaks: Unknowability” and ” Meditation Under the Oaks:  The Virtue of Opposites”

Editor’s Note: We are giving you a double-dose of meditation on this Monday (because who doesn’t need some serious meditation right now?). Take a breath (if you want), relax (if you want), and enjoy the poetry (if you want). 

A shadow of meditation under the oaks. (Photo by: Reece Burka)


Meditation Under the Oaks: Unknowability 5/3/2020

For as long as I can remember
I have pondered the most 
basic question of existence: 
“Why is there something 
rather than nothing?”
If the universe began with a Big Bang
13.7 billion years ago, I longed 
to figure out what set it off and why. 
When I finally conceded that I would 
never know the answer to the riddle
of existence, I got an unexpected 
existential bounce. 
Instantly everything around me 
took on the glow of the miraculous.
So I decided to make “unknowability” 
my mantra of the day. 
I ate with it, slept with it, played with the dog
and petted the cat with it…
I prayed with it, showered with it, 
shaved and brushed my teeth with it…
And then I took it with me on my daily walk 
in Audubon Park where the first thing I saw
stopped me dead in my tracks. 
It was a girl about 3 or 4, slung over 
her father’s shoulder, bobbing up and down
and giggling as the two of them 
passed in front of me. 
When I smiled at her, she smiled back
with a look so filled with delight that I knew
it had to be at least 13.7 billion years 
in the making. 
In that moment I realized 
I had an answer to account 
for everything that had to happen
to produce the starburst of joy
I had just witnessed. 
Then we waved goodbye 
as she went on with her father 
to feed the ducks and I carried on 
with my adventure in unknowability.
Over time the magic of unknowability
wore off and it was replaced by newer, 
fresher mantras to frame my day. 
But the memory of that smile remains 
as pure and potent as ever. 

Meditation Under the Oaks:  The Virtue of Opposites     5/8/2020

On walks with my friend 
he likes to remind me that 
we can’t have the good without the bad,
we need the ugly to appreciate beauty, 
without darkness there would be no light. 
I know he is right…
But I can’t help wondering if 
there could have been
another way. 




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