04 May 20XX+1
My Dear Lucilius:
It is not my habit to write back to back (I say write; it has been months since I have actually heard from you and so the phrase, while strictly true, seems an amusing relic of a different age) but I have just come in from one of those moments which it strikes one as needing to be written about.
It was evening and the sun had sunk into the West, illuminating the trailing clouds in reds and golds and pinks as it has as long as I have been here and undoubtedly far, far longer – only then to fade away as the stars started to wink in.
But the stars themselves were overpowered by the moon – not quite full yet, but almost – that sat high in the sky, lighting the world with the soft sort of light that one can accomplish many things by at night – or, as I was, just be taken in by the sight.
I have written before of the silence and darkness that are now regular occurrences, the sorts of things that once upon a time we took for granted as a novelty or an inconvenience. Admittedly the darkness is much more a time of sleep now, as light is a commodity to be hoarded for the times it will be really needed, not just as a convenient excuse to cover a task which could have been accomplished during regular daylight hours. And yet, it is equally as foolish to squander the wonder of the moments that in an odd way, the world as it is has now gifted us.
Off behind The Cabin to my right as I face West, I can hear the gentle shifting of grasses as something moved through the pasture – likely deer gorging themselves on the native grasses. The field behind me has gone unoccupied without livestock for some years even prior to any of this and remains an outpost of wild land on the outskirts of a town once dying and now strangely brought back to life. I have no idea who owns the plot; I idly wonder if I should speak to Xerxes about seeing if someone is interested in putting some livestock there – it is easy enough for me to monitor and might result in a trade for something.
To my left, the stream continues to gurgle and rush as it always has, unseen whirlpools swirling into non-existence and rivulets of flow visible for second before they disappear into the greater whole. The trout have stopped jumping for the night, as their prey has disappeared until the morning’s light raises them into the competition for food and mates once again.
As I sat there, Lucilius, I was struck by the unseemly beauty of it all.
I live today in a world of collapse, in a system that overextended itself to the point that it could no longer continue. Survival for many is a real struggle; even for myself, I find myself in increasingly concerning circumstances – not immediately of course, but looking out into the future the risk heightens if I am not able to adapt to the world as it is, not the world as I wish it to be.
And yet in all of this, I find myself gifted with the moments of grace and hanging loveliness – Yeats’ phrase “peace comes dropping slow” comes to mind. The brightness of the moon, the slightly shifting light of the stars, the rustling of the grass on one side as the creek bubbles on the other – these are gifts Lucilius, gifts I had not expected nor would have noticed save the fact that they are now made extraordinary by the circumstances of the time.
The ordinary becoming extraordinary, noticed only because I have pushed out of my comfortable world so I can behold them.
Even now, Lucilius, the world remains full of miracles.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca