This morning I sat down to read a little from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet; I haven’t read this book before, it’s a recent purchase based upon some quotes that I resonated with, and it’s truly a gift of touching depth. Each chapter sings to my soul with the pure voice of the infinite.
The chapter next was On Houses. He says:
Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.
And I was reminded how during my entire adult life, I have sought repeatedly to make my home in the countryside; to find a house or apartment bedded in nature’s glory where the green paths are my alleys.
Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power?
Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind?
Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?
Tell me, have you these in your houses?
Yes! Even in my 20’s, my home held peace, beauty and remembrances; nature was within my home, part of my life, wearing the cloak of animal kindred, and often the green fingers of plant friends. Yet, I would still escape on the weekends to the purity of my beloved Rocky Mountain paths, there to dwell in the twin bounties of majesty and marvelously minute!
Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?
I would scorn attachment to excessive comfort whenever it would try to become master, uprooting myself, moving to another place, leaving all behind except for furry companions, books, and the most basic of comforts. I often fantasized about relinquishing all ties to even that grounding wire and, instead, setting off with a single canine friend to explore the vast expanse of nature and world, letting the winds blow me this way and that. I thought about a motorcycle for the two of us; oh what adventures lay in wait! Yet I wasn’t quite brave enough ...
Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron.
It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed and jeer at the dignity of the flesh.
It makes mock of your sound senses, and lays them in thistledown like fragile vessels.
Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.
A gilded cage is a cage nevertheless! As I’ve gotten older, I confess there have been times when I let the lust for comfort or fear or complacency lull me into a restless sleep. Yet I shake myself awake, seeking to slake my thirst at the well of life rather than the trough of excess comfort; to enjoy the gifts of comfort, yes, but not to become slave to them.
And thus his final comments speak truth to my heart and soul:
You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.
You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.
And though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.