There are rare moments in life when you stop, take a look about you, and realize you’re sitting in the middle of an ideal. This is one of those moments. It’s swelteringly hot, the low sun is swollen and it’s dyeing my page and everything else red. Surrounding me are brilliantly green rice fields and cat fish ponds. We’ve parked our suv in a strategic place to spot flocking gap-beaked watcha-ma-call-its, should they choose to grace us with their presence. We are all coincidently color-coded in kahki-and-white; and we’ve got more pockets all over us than I think we know what to do with. Oh. My. Goodness. The sun is not behaving properly; it’s huge and red as a Christmas light. It’s dropping so fast it’s as if it’s burning right through whatever’s propping it up in the sky. Oh! To my left something large just made a sloshing splashing racket in the water, concealed in the reeds. Ah, at last my adventuresome companions have called it a day, and we are barreling along these narrow dirt and gravel dikes that divide field and waterway. The AC is blasting; the perspiration is evaporating. I’m propping my notes on a field guide on reptiles of Southeast Asia; a book of maps, Latin and detailed drawings. The british and aussie chit-chat up front commentates today’s photography expedition. I’m a bystander, a tag-a-long, out of my league, lacking both the patience and passion they possess for this pursuit. I envy them but nonetheless am content to come along to observe and muse on this marvelous wonder of an earth that surrounds us. The stick-shift transmission and rough roads rattle my perch and pen, but it all makes for one of those rare moments. I’m sitting in the middle of an ideal and I wouldn’t change a thing.
"Whatsoever I conceived, deprived of this space, seemed to me nothing, yea altogether nothing, not even a void, as if a body were taken out of its place, and the air should remain empty of any body at all...as it were a spacious nothing...So also did I endeavor to conceive of Thee, Life of my Life, as vast, through infinite spaces, on every side penetrating the whole mass of the universe, and beyond it, every way, through unmeasurable boundless spaces, so that the earth should have Thee, the heaven have Thee, all things have Thee, and they be bounded in Thee, and Thou bounded no where. For as the body of this air which is above the earth, hindereth not the light of sun from passing through it, penetrating it, not by bursting or by cutting, but by filling it wholly: so I thought the body not of heaven, air, and sea only, but of the earth too, subject to Thee, so that in all its parts, the greatest as the smallest, it should admit Thy presence, by a secret inspiration, within and without, directing all things which Thou hast created. So I guessed, only as unable to conceive anything else, for it was false. For thus should a greater part of the earth contain a greater portion of Thee, and a less, a lesser: and all things should in such sort be full of Thee, that the body of an elephant should contain more of Thee than that of a sparrow, by how much larger it is, and takes up more room; and thus shouldest Thou make the several portions of the world, in fragments, large to the large, small to the small. But such art not Thou...For Thou Most High, and most near; most secret and most present; Who...art wholly every where, and nowhere in space, art not of such corporeal (physical) shape, yet hast Thou made man after Thine own image; and behold, from head to foot is contained in space..."