To Behold or Not to Behold?

Introduction: I do not know how one might prove it, but the most famous play in the world is perhaps Hamlet. And I do not know how one might prove it, but the most famous line in the literary world is perhaps “To be, or not to be: that is the question . . .” At the point in the play when Prince Hamlet says these words, he is contemplating an ultimate question. To continue or not? To endure or not? To be or not to be?

I don’t know how many times I’ve read Hamlet and/or watched it performed. Many times, that is certain. But the more I read it, the deeper it grows.

Segue: This evening as I came back to my place, the sun was going down behind the oaks. A thunderstorm had moved through the area about an hour earlier and dumped several inches of rain. And lightning had webbed across the skies. But now the storms had passed and the clouds were taking new shapes and the smells of the earth were rich, aromatic, redolent of storms stored in memory.

And as I took my trash bag to the receptacle, I saw a woman in her backyard with a new dog, Yorkie-looking, tied on a red nylon leash lashed to a stake in the grass. She was watching the dog and his ears were taut triangles atop his scruffy head. She looked at the dog and he looked at her.

And as I kept walking the evening redness of the sun behind the oaks, I thought it would be a shame not to be moved, not to behold. To behold, as it were. To keep hold of, or to give regard to. To rejoice that creation has a Creator, that he makes beauty, that we are designed to see these colors, imbibe these scents, and point others towards it all, as if to say, “Do you not see what I see?”

Takeaway: I snapped a few pictures. And I beheld. So much depends upon that. Seems it would be improper or even worse to smell the rain, and see the firmament ablaze in flames of color, and watch clouds slowly take on new shapes as they slide on winds, and see the way a dog’s ears respond to its owner . . . and not express gratitude.

I beheld, as if it were the proper thing to do, as if someone were speaking and I needed to listen.

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