Friday, June 19, 2009

more things I don't know

today as I was riding I again thought about all the things I don't know.
things like the names of flora and fauna.
like how quantum physics really works.
like how wind thermals and cold fronts and low pressure systems and barometric changes work together to create our weather patterns.
like the volume of water crashing down cottonwood creek at peak flow.
like the meanings of more than three-quarters of the words in an english dictionary.

I can accept that there are billions of things I don't know: facts and factoids and names and meanings and theories and concepts.

but what's more fascinating, and much more difficult to accept, are all the why questions to which I have no answers.

like why the supply/demand theory works the way it does, because it seems to me if people were like me (i.e. not greedy) it would operate much differently.
like why so many people are born with severe disabilities.
like why babies die.
like why love comes when it does, even when it disrupts and creates chaos, and doesn't come when everything points to how it should.
like why some people's lives seem infinitely challenging, unrelentingly difficult.
like why I don't always behave the way I think I want to behave.
like why we have to experience so much loneliness and loss in our human lives.
like why we don't seem to be learning as much about how connected we are as we should be learning by now.
like why I don't get to know what's going to happen 1, 2, and 5 years down the road.
like why you can put your heart and soul into something and still not have it take off the ground, sprout wings, and fly.
like why we don't all love and accept each other in a better way.
like why cookies have to have more calories than, say, kale.
and, ultimately, why I don't get to receive all the answers to my questions.

this last one, at least, I can guess the answer to.
it has to do with the mystery, and the excitement of walking an unknown path. a path where we must stay alert and focused, where the unpredictable may jump out around any corner. where an emerald city may suddenly appear, or a hungry and irritated mountain lion. where we may be surprised by fields of flowers or rattlesnakes or another solitary traveler with whom we bond or a secret garden full of lush and (to me) un-nameable flora.
if we knew all of the answers, we might be less eager to stick with our journey.

so I suppose I will continue walking (and riding) the path, continue formulating questions in my mind, search out answers to those which are knowable, and hold fast to the wisdom given me a few years back by a gentle man who works with paper and cardboard in a manufacturing plant:

you can't know.

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