Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

The Leaves of a Tree

Posted on | September 11, 2011 | No Comments

Today I voluntarily fled all newscasts and bland commentators who tried to remind us how much the world has changed in the past 10 years, following the September 11 disaster. For it is nothing but a lie: nothing has really changed. Wealth is still unevenly distributed throughout the world. Might still makes right. The poor and downtrodden, once they feel they have nothing left to lose, are always ready to commit the worst atrocities in order to make their voices heard. Cynicism is just as prevalent now than it was in

Then as I was heading back home earlier, bathed in the warm and rich yellow light which is characteristic of these last summer days’ evenings, I was distracted for a moment by an apparently banal sight, which carried more profound implications. By the side of the road, a young toddler was held at arm’s length by an elderly man, her grandfather maybe. The child, deeply absorbed in discovery, was grasping in her hands the leaf of a tree, with which she was playing, undoubtedly enjoying its texture and coolness.

This vision altered my previously pessimistic judgement on the consequences of the events that happened 10 years ago. Indeed, nothing has changed: this planet is still filled with people who are ready to devote a few minutes of their time in order to allow children to marvel at the apparently ordinary sight of nature and the leaves of a tree.

This planet is still filled with people who are ready to take a few minutes of their time to allow us all to marvel in the beauties life can provide, whether the perennial tree, whether the short-lived rainbow, or a peculiar kind of light which is only present at a certain moment in a day.

The true lesson of September 11 is one we must keep on learning every day. It is the strength to keep this unshakeable optimism which allows us to savour fully the exuberant diversity of life. It is to remain an optimist despite the masses that would rather seek solace in fear, in the rejection of others, in anger, in hatred, in the narcissistic involvement in their own suffering without a care for the marvellous complexity of the surrounding world.

I must thank now this young girl who, even though she is not old enough yet to speak, reminded me today of this essential lesson.


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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

    Tous droits réservés, Patrick Meunier, 2010

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