A cool sunny morning in April. The moisture from the night’s rain is still in the air. The wind blows fresh from the west. The sky blue. Only a stray gray cloud, spanning the horizon yet so lonely, covers the sun in rapid succession. A cloud as large as a battleship, whose outline I contemplate as if from the bottom of a lake, floating on the surface of the water above me. The chill increases in this artificial twilight. I stand and watch the cloud move. It moves quickly, as if aware that it is out of place in this clear, blue, cool sky. As if it knows that it must not cover the warming sun for too long now. Briskly she wants to steal away. Not bother for long at all. „Sorry. My mistake. I’ll be gone in a minute!“, I almost hear her say to me. Then she starts to glow. At the back edges, the gray turns to white. A glow that becomes a glistening the closer the still obscured sun gets to the edge of the cloud. The cloud’s edge spins high in the sky in small, slow spirals that, following the current of the wind, dissolve in their spinning dance in the light of the approaching sun. A magic trick. They disappear, swirling in slow motion, before my eyes into nothingness. And then she comes! I have to avert my gaze, for no one can look unprotected into its face for long. The sun crosses the edge of the cloud and in seconds it stands again clear and wonderfully warming in the blue firmament. The twilight is over. And the shivering is only a vague memory.
A vague memory… Another vague memory emerges from the bottom of the deep lake. This sky. Those clouds. This wonderfully clear early-spring coolness, transformed into warmth only by the light of the sun. The lime green of the trees around me, only days young. The wind… I remember the many times I have witnessed such a moment. As a child. I remember how the air smelled then, and how the earth smelled. And also what a snow day in winter smelled like back then and what it said to me. The voices of summer and the feeling attuned to it. The language of light when it hit the skin. The knowledge when you took a handful of earth in your hand and perceived it so differently and so new….
I become sad. What I called memories were so faint and so pale. They alone are not enough to return to that eternal knowledge of childhood. The smelling, the tasting, the feeling, the seeing, the hearing… it’s all gone. It has been lost… Somewhere along the way through the years of my life.
I become sad and long to be allowed to experience the world once again like this. To once again be able to perceive and recognize the seasons, the days, the evenings, the light and the darkness, the sky, the beings and the earth, as it was granted to me as a child. So pure, so clear, so varied and so full of secrets and full of knowledge that is now so lost and no longer tangible, let alone sayable.
I draw in the air deeply through my nose. Deeply. Very deep. No. I no longer smell the day as I once smelled it. In a breath then lay the ineffable answer to all mystery. Now I smell and smell and all I know is that I will never get back that lost answer. It remains only a vague memory, that answer without question. Not tangible, like a figure in the fog, whose outline one just recognizes, only to become aware that what one believes to see clearly in his memory before him, has nothing in common with this more and more disappearing figure in the fog forever and ever.
I breathe in deeply and ask to be allowed to smell once again a day in its wholeness. As I did as a child… To once again be allowed to experience the unspeakable mystery….
Seeing without soul is not real seeing. Feeling without soul is not real feeling. Perception of the world is not complete without perception of the soul. So much essential is missing. So much necessary for us thirsty is missing!
It is the return that we must strive for. The return to the unreserved perception of the world. Then we smell again what we can smell only with the soul.