Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trailing Clouds of Glory

Yesterday I had the sweet experience of meeting with Basel Al-Aswad, the father of Chris Al-Aswad, the young man who founded Escape Into Life.

We spoke in Chris's house across from a cornfield, on a road that intersects significantly (and literally) with the road to my childhood home out in corn country here in central Illinois. I realized I had passed the house many times without knowing it when taking a certain route to drop my daughter off at school.

I saw, in real life, up close, the swan and family paintings and drawings of Rosalind Al-Aswad, Chris's mother, that I'd seen only online before. I saw Chris's office, his library, his Gogol...Dead Souls.

I saw the sweet, quiet corner at the top of the stairs set apart for Buddhist meditation.

I am glad and grateful for this. Thank you, Basel.

And this morning, looking once more at the family's tribute to Chris--this article and the magazine itself--I looked again at Chris's handwritten excerpt from Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality...," a poem significant in my own youth in awakening my awe, for poetry and for everything.

I had again that little shock of recognition, having known but forgotten that Chris and I were moved by the same thing. He mentions intuition in one of his last journal entries, and his own sense of recognition that a life can lead to one inevitable discovery: "The best comparison is to a scholar or scientist who comes to discover that their life-work revolves around a single theme." I'll be pondering this all day, and thereafter.


Maureen said...

Lovely post, Kathleen.

May Chris's soul always rest in peace.

seana graham said...

I wasn't familiar with this man's life, and I thank you for the introduction. There seems to have been a deep resonance between your spirits.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Seana. Meeting his family has been wonderful.

ron hardy said...

Michael Meade has written a book called Fate and Destiny:The Two Agreements of the Soul. He seems to be addressing the same theme of recognizing one's story. Interviewed in Sun Magazine this month.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Ron. Already read it, the interview, underlining stuff, and added book to my Wishlist. So, if you want to give me something for Christmas....! (tee hee)

Also, already added it to an annotated working bibliography thingey and sent it to my sister! Shazam!