Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

stray wanderings and injunctions (life in a pith helmet)

Do for others the things you lack the self-esteem to do for yourself. Imagine that you are in Rockhounders State Park, in rural New Mexico, and you hold in your hand a dull-looking spherical rock. If you held it anyplace else, you might dismiss it as a curious anomaly. But because you stand in this moment in this place in this frame of mind, you know it is really a geode. You cut it open, and inside you find crystals--amethysts so bright they would make you cry, except that you have loaned your tears out to problems you don't really have. Take the geode to a dark place with rich fluorescent light--watch the facets glitter. Drive to the top of Pinnacle Mountain, in the deep dark, when a meteor shower shoots stars down a few an hour. Just after you absorb the look of one, barely flickering past your peripheral view, close your eyes. At first you see nothing, because you have lived your life as though there is nothing to see. But then, spawned only by your imagination (your imagination), you see a flaming star, falling into the jazzlines of your deepest consciousness, and then you don't know what you know, but you know something, and you smile.

Rather than sealing blood oaths with sliced palms, blood should be preserved, permitted to course. Why sacrifice a dove, when a released dove flies? Sometimes I imagine that I am indeed a universalist--but it is not so much of bodies or soul, but only of what I imagine to be a kind of universal compassion; a compassion that cuts through the practicality I feel at five in the morning. I'd like to feel that universal sense of personal compassion for hours at a time. Perhaps that is the life everlasting. In my childhood recurrent dream, I've imagined wind so strong it carried me aloft like a kite, and yet in the back of my mind I believe somehow that I was the one in mid-air, suspended in heavy wind, floating as if I belonged, and that memory is curious to me, because it must be a memory of a dream, but the floating is just so nice.

I watched dozens of terns, hunting out things which live just below the sand. So many cycles of life and death play out all around, and yet the reality of it is all so surprising, so unexpected. Mythic immortals, literal finites.

I remember the silence. A low, inaudible hum. A hum that things had changed. A quiet realization that catastrophe had stricken. I have heard the tape of the Hindenburg disaster, and I felt all the things that announcer felt, but I remember the silence. I remember hushed tones on public radio. I remember that sense of inevitable realization. I remember television imagery. I remember burning and falling and my soul getting a hole in it, even as the excitement of the unexpected afflicted.

I read books by folks who founded faiths based on positive thinking. I am not an adherent of those faiths, nor a rejecter for that matter, but the concepts fascinate me, and delight me, and yet somehow confound me. I imagine the writer Ernest Holmes, who denied that evil exists. I know he lived during the Second World War. How did he explain the camps? Did he blame the attitudes of the afflicted? How did he deal with evil? So many times I want to read the chapters that are not written--find the ideas that nobody writes.

When I got to my hotel on Friday night, they did not have a proper room for me. They put me up instead in one of those curious rooms that hotels tend to have, with a conference table and a pull-out sofabed. They promised that I could change rooms on the next evening, but I took the whole thing as a curious metaphor. I am not born to live in luxury hotels among frighteningly wealthy people.

I am born to sleep on sofabeds, near a solid, worthy table. This is not a tale of my lack of prosperity, but of prosperity inside, a richesse entirely experiential. I'm no desert father, with my ready access to snack food and diet soda. But the worlds in which I travel are rich in different ways than the worlds of luxury automobiles and pointless consumption.

I love to close my eyes on an orange-red sunset afternoon and see the shimmering scarlet coursing as heat radiates on my eyelids. It means only what meaning I assign it. It does not change the universe. It does not even change me. I define it. It is mine to experience--or to ignore. I have savored a kiss as though it saves souls. I have taken a hike in which I marched to the center of my being. I have read a book as if it were a teleportation device. I have drunk ginger ale, and imagined it is ambrosia.

Not the having. Not the getting. Not the taking. The being. The being in this place, in this time, in this space only for an instant. This passage, this "stretch", this "in between".

I hit two home runs in Little League. Each barely cleared the fence. The best moments, though, are when the ball leaves the bat. The time before you know. Is it a fly out? Is it a triple? All you know is that you have hit the sweet of the bat, and it has connected you to something flying at high speed, and only time will tell. Only time will tell, and your heart leaps, because you are in a moment of time, and you feel it glance off your bat.

Sometimes I wonder if trying to find forgiveness for sins that don't matter merely obscures one from seeing the sins that do. Sometimes I wonder if trees could tell me things, if only I could listen. Sometimes I dream great dreams, and then have raisin bran afterwards. I see self-help books lately that speak of a Way. A Thinker's Way. An Artist's Way. But I am hunting a way in which my approach to my path is no more important than the destination.

Tomorrow I will pray.

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