Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - June 2

When the Bullfrog Says “Om”

The other day (Thursday)—the full meaning of Lauds, said against the background of waking birds and sunrise.

At 2:30—no sounds except sometimes a bullfrog. Some mornings he says “Om”—some days he is silent. The sounds are not every day the same. The whippoorwill, who begins his mysterious whoop about 3 o’clock, is not always near. Sometimes, like today, he is very far away in Linton’s woods or beyond. Sometimes he is close, on Mount Olivet. Yesterday there were two, but both in the distance.

The first chirps of the waking birds: le point vierge—the virgin point—of the dawn, a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence, when the Father in silence opens their eyes and they speak to Him, wondering it is time to “be”? And He tells them, “Yes.” Then they one by one wake and begin to sing. First the catbirds and cardinals and some others I do not recognize. Later, song sparrows, wrens, etc. Last of all doves, crows.

With my hair almost on end, and the eyes of my soul wide open, I am present, without knowing it at all, in this unspeakable Paradise, and I behold this secret, this wide-open secret which is there for everyone, free, and no one pays any attention (“One to his farm, another to his merchandise”). Not even monks, shut up under fluorescent lights and face to face with the big books and black notes and with one another, perhaps no longer seeing or hearing anything in the course of festive Lauds.

O paradise of simplicity, self-awareness—and self-forgetfulness—liberty, peace.

June 5, 1960, IV.7

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