Last week my classroom teachers and I took the children on a nature walk through Rock Creek Park. We want them to see the birds, squirrels in the forest and to learn something about roots, mushrooms, rocks, water, coal, and quartz. We also want to prevent them from slicing their calves open on rocks or getting kidnapped by a homeless nutter. In order to assure these two objectives, we have to maintain constant vigiliance on the four and five year olds and their surroundings.

Despite being distracted by the preschoolers, I managed to catch the transcendence of that morning. The sunlight shone through a canopy of leaves, leaving tinted green shadows on the ground below. The light dappling the earth looked warm and corporeal, like something clean and god-sent that I could pick up and eat.

Life is confusing, ambiguous, depressing, tedious. But there are the sublime moments of beauty and clarity that lift the heart. These moments are the true manna in life.

P.S. That afternoon the head teacher, who led the nature walk, was telling me how much she adores the outdoors. It was uplifting to see someone speaking so warmly about something I also care deeply about. There is really nothing like sharing transcendent experiences with others.


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