Last night was the first balmy evening of the season, and I was able to sit outside without needing to wear a light jacket. The first activity I chose to engage in was an impromptu deep meditation session. After a while, I drifted back to this reality and allowed my eyes to focus on the world around me. A seagull practically grazed the roof of my house, turned sharply to the east, and flew straight towards the moon, growing smaller and smaller until its drab body was indistinguishable from the lunar surface. A bald eagle soared in from the south, then hitched a spiraling ride on a thermal rising from my property. Turning my gaze up even higher, I saw a curious cloud formation.
Fresh from meditation, I was of the mindset that everything I had seen in the preceding moments may or may not have been physically "real", per se. In the past, I have not photographed curious things that visually present themselves to me: not because I'm afraid photographs would prove or disprove their "realness", but rather because these things happen when I don't have a camera or cell phone on me to capture the moment.
As I sat entranced by the clouds, I suddenly recalled that my cell phone was in my back pocket due to the informal and spontaneous nature of the meditation. I hesitated for a moment, then whipped the phone out and snapped the picture. As suddenly as the thought had come to take the photo, so too came the compulsion to toss my phone onto the lawn, out of my reach.
I settled back and watched the cloud formation, noting the baseball diamond configuration. The blob of cloud between what would be first and second base suddenly tightened into a perfectly-defined face. It was of an older man with a high forehead, bushy beard, and enormous grin. I sent a silent, casual greeting and received a perfunctory acknowledgement. Within a few seconds, the face's features faded back into a dispersed blob.
Had I witnessed that two years ago, I would have immediately feared that my sanity was questionable. One year ago, I would have been insecure about my perception, but tried to remain open to the experience nonetheless. Today, such experiences have become a bit of an expected occurrence, and fill me curiosity and satisfaction rather than trepidation.
Best of all? I know this is just the beginning of my Path. And I love it all: the good, the bad, the scary, and the comforting.