…there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be.
I have finally finished Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and would encourage anyone to read it. I found it very enlightening. Here are two of my favorite passages from the end.
"She felt the whole struggle of her past rising before her and dropping away, leaving her here, on the height of this moment. She smiled—and the words in her mind, appraising and sealing the past, were the words of courage, pride and dedication, which most men had never understood, the words of a businessman’s language: ‘Price no object,’" (p.1159).
"The music of Richard Halley’s Fifth Concerto streamed from his keyboard, past the glass of the window, and spread through the air, over the lights of the valley. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there had never had had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance,” (p.1166).
When I was 8 years old on summer afternoons I would lie in my upstairs bedroom watching ladybugs as they traveled on the top of garden hoses snaking across the lawn. I thought of these as “ladybug highways” and I imagined all sorts of scenarios for where the little orange travelers were going and what they would do there when they got to their destinations.
Now I am 60 years old and I realize that we all are traveling our own roads of life within a patchwork of journeys around us much like the garden hoses on those lazy summer afternoons.
The destinations may be profound or trivial, but the journeys themselves are what link us together as a community, a country, and a world. May you find your way to a happy ending and welcome arms, but, if not, may you appreciate and realize that the path traveled is the experience of living and the true meaning of life. Where you arrive is much less important than the trip that got you there.