Hubris of meaning

While walking along the beach, I noticed a large stump that appeared to have been yanked from the ground before drifting for a lengthy indeterminate period as judged by the smooth veneer of its chain-sawed limbs.

The stump’s roots had circled in flowing adaptation around four large rocks, entangling them firmly in smooth wooden cavities, snuggly ornate in artistic simplicity.

I had never seen this before, such an obvious encirclement of a tree over stones. What could it mean?

I considered either the predicament or good fortune of the embedded rocks, depending on perspective, occasionally for several days, eventually concluding nothing. Still, the unusual arrangement was mesmerizing in its transformative beauty, an inlay of ordinary rock in the center of a nondescript tree that, when viewed in entirety, was fascinating beyond that of an oddity of occurrence.

Recently, I’ve questioned my naiveté silently. Evolving habit demands investigating meaning in every act of observation, a course I still regard as proper if I am ever to understand the actual workings of the world. But it does not follow that a particular interpretation will be revealed “correctly” (whatever that is) or will be evident to me or to anybody else.

Assuming meaning is adaptable to the inherent rigidities of the human form and thought, it would seem likely to be undetected by all, including the most perceptive of observers. Meaning appears to arise nuanced in expression, oblique in its attack of a salient point, absent the usual fanfare modern doctrine demands in description.

It might be wise to temper our focus, entertaining kindness and compassion as a guide for the hidden. Beauty can be grounded in brilliant obscuration, a gateway to understanding a buried code long forgotten in a hubris-driven oversight of consequence.

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