Surreal Reality

I have always enjoyed the mental picture, sound, and flow of the word surreal. I envision its appearance like smoke on the water: floating, ephemeral, inexplicable, and yet inviting. Surreal starts out softly, like the wind shifting through the trees, a gentle breeze that blows warmly across a field of grain. Then it hardens with the letters – REAL. That brings the mystery back to earth. While I can’t see the wind I can see the dust and bramble whirling along with it, I can feel it against my cheeks, and I can view the effects of its ever-changing patterns. Finally, the word surreal streams smoothly off the tongue. It speaks volumes in just two syllables and seven letters about mysteries and the inexplicable.

Reality is that with which we deal every moment of every day. It includes where we live, how we live, what we do, and how we do it. It is the actuality of our experiences and of our existence. It is solid and concrete. It surrounds and binds us. It moves us left and right as we wander or stomp or thud through the day. It is the material of the here and now. And that is what makes reality so surreal.

While reality is the life in which we live, it is also the perception of that life, our mode of living. While I glance out the window and claim the day as bright and wonderful, another views it as overly hot and oppressive. A third might dread the sunshine as she longs for rain and another perhaps dreams of his delightfully mindless day at the beach. We live our reality, as our observations and insights guide us through routines, decisions, and actions of the day. We do as we see fit, as we believe to be right, but are led by our previous choices that have been determined by personal autonomy and sovereignty mixed in with the life and times, experiences and opportunities, and encounters of every sort. Maybe that is part of what makes life so miraculous and magical and surrounds reality in a surreal veil.

Surrealism permits us to discern the subtle differences among family and friends, co-workers and rivals. We can fog our vision just enough to blur the edges and thus allow others to be individualistic while still blending in to our lives, times, needs, and demands. This becomes the reality of lives intertwined and of existence intermixed. Surreal and reality are two divergent terms which, when allowed to converge, provide a wider and more profound assessment of others, their thoughts, their actions, and their perceptions. It promotes understanding that in turn adds to the vitality and authenticity of living.