As I was driving home this evening, I was struck by the chiaroscuro of the heavens above me. To my left was a beautiful sunset in shades of red and purple, a reminder of the brilliant light of day that had greeted me this morning as I left for work. It reminded me of all the joys in my life; the friends I had seen at dinner, and the conversation and laughter and loving hugs that we shared. I have much to be grateful for in this life. The bloodied sky reminded me as well as the price of the good things in life, the pain and discipline required to achieve the goals of moral fortitude, physical strength, and the deep mental awareness I so treasure. I reminded me of my workout last night, training with a blade in each hand, and how much closer I’ve come to being able to use them as though they were a part of my body and move them independently of each other wherever they are needed. It reminded me of Miyamoto Musashi and the Niten Ichi-ryū, which I’ve always greatly admired because it is a very pragmatic and beautiful discipline.
To my right was a night sky packed with storm clouds, dark with moisture and striking the earth with thick bolts of lightning with all the steadiness of a blacksmith’s hammer. And amidst the raging storm, a small break in the clouds revealed the silky night sky above the cumulus curtain. In that small pond of tranquility, surrounded by darkness and violence, were stars and planets gently raining down light upon the earth while the clouds drowned the earth in their fury. I was reminded of the perils I have faced in my life and the struggles I have faced, the injuries and illness and the times I have journeyed toward a death I embraced as inevitable and implacable. I was reminded of the darkness of my clinical depression during my university studies and the accompanying longstanding suicidal thoughts driven by my rage at the cruelty of our world and my philosophical fatalism. I was also reminded of the break in those seemingly unassailable strata of the mind, the hope and love that gently rained upon me until at last I reached for them and found that they were within my grasp all along.
As I finished my drive home, I drove past a pond reflecting the light from the stars and smiled because I realized that like the pond, I’ve absorbed the fury of many storms and grown stronger for it. I’ve basked in the light of the stars and reflected the light of the sunsets, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.