One of my earliest memories is of being a small child in southern California. My parents had taken me somewhere on the coast where there was a pier. It might have been Santa Monica. Dusk was approaching and the sky was turning gray. For some reason we walked out to the end of the pier and watched the waves. I don’t remember anything being said. My parents stood apart. It was windy and cool. I think that for the most part I was a troubled child but at that moment, in the midst of the wind and the waves, I felt an expansive sense of peace, an intuition for the vastness of nature, the awe and mystery of it. A feeling of reverence for the dynamic, flowing world, and a sense of being touched by forces that came from very far away.

Looking back on that long-ago evening from my current vantage point as a man in my 60s, I know that there is something deep and vital in me that I have managed to retain from that very early time. That faint and subtle glimmer of reverence has stayed with me and has taken me all the way through my life. It may in fact be the only thing about me that has remained recognizable and constant in me through all of the many drastic changes that my life and personality and identity have gone through.

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