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Why

January 7, 2009
Arbres de paradis...!!!

Image by Denis Collette…!!!via Flickr

On a quiet 1970’s fall day, near a lazy sloping hill’s crest, I stood with an easel explaining how we can recognize that life is not an accident. ( See specified complexity ) Life and all things are the result of intelligent design (I borrow the phrase because it works well . . .  it wasn’t around at that time). 

All morning as groups of students waited for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute bus, loaded and departed.  My presentatisons received as much recognition as a billboard ad with no pictures.  At lunchtime, the bus stop became quiet and deserted.

Quietly, I considered the possibility of more frustration when the students returned. My dark mood was reinforced by the cigarettebutts, coke cans and more discards littering the bus stop’s unloved, dusty ground.

EUREKA! I would make my point, without words.

A scraggly branch was modified to become a boom-like rake.  I cleaned the ground until it was pristine and uniform.  Stray rocks were brushed to reveal their original finish.  Studying the scene I positioned the rocks in places where the bus stopped and passengers exited.  As I tracied rhythmic, resonant lines around the rocks a Bus Stop Zen Sand Garden began to take form. Time flew.  I was having fun.  Eventually, just beyond the hill’s crest, the churnning, wheezing of the approaching bus grew louder.  I moved out of sight.

The bus arrived.  Students left the bus.  Eyeing the Zen Graden Bus Stop they avoided distrubing it and continued their trek. I smiled. These students proved the point I was trying to make earlier. They acknowledged value and purpose beyond accident by avoiding the ground etchings.   Finally, the last student left the bus.  He stopped and considered the ground for several moments as I emerged from behind the bush. He recognized me from earlier in the day and asked, “Why?” 

I smiled and explained. “Without using a lot of words I wanted to prove anyone can recognize that life is not an accident.  Life, existence, all of this” – I motioned all around us — “is the result of a designer, God, whatever you want to call the creator of all this.  I created these patterns in the dust.  You noticed, left them undisturbed and asked me about them.  Likewise, the creator has caused everything we see . . . to take form and; in some cases, to live.  By asking, “Why?”  we can become more response-able instead of assuming and abusing life and all this as accidents.

We smiled.

David Belfort

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