I like that photographic effect in which still photos are taken of a slow phenomenon in such a fashion as to create a sped-up video of the thing observed--a plant bursting into bloom, a chemical reaction.
In Arizona, the saguaros grow to any size only after they turn very old. The California bristlecone pines grow oldest of all, but they never grow particularly large, nor grow so that the growth can be seen in a given hour.
At the same time, some experiences pass so quickly, but they make an impact which lasts for decades and sometimes a lifetime. Sometimes that moment comes when things achieve a bliss unbounded by time, which lasts for an eternity, even if an eternity is measured in instants.
They say you can't observe anything thoroughly without altering the thing observed.
But I believe that the alteration itself can be revelatory. I notice that when I keep this journal, I am apt to take on more projects that prior to the journal I'd relegated to the "maybe someday" category. In southern California, one forces one's tulips to bloom through a spell in the refrigerator. But the flowers look grand despite the artificial assist.
Each year adds another ring to the tree--growth here, a near-burning there. I love best the scrub oak, which never grows bigger than chapparal-size. A stand of scrub oaks can spread thousands of acorns. The scrub oak keeps it leaves all winter long,
and lives for many years. I imagine multiple trunk rings, slowly expanding.
I think that changes takes one in the night, as the expression goes, as if robbing one's home. The doors seem padlocked, everything seems safe, and then the things to which one is attached are gone. I wish that Mr. Marley had been given giant skeleton keys to unlock the account books chained to his ghost, instead of a mere mission to spare torment to his friend.
In a tree near the Allen Station Park, thousands of bees cluster to make honey.
In the Spring, they find new blooms the hive can convert into sustenance. I've known that excitement of something created, a changing of things into something new.
In Mantua, they built a seminary, churches, businesses and a school. But they declined to pay the railroad to pass through. Soon the railroad had incorporated Van Alstyne, a few miles away. Mantuans moved, lock, stock and barrel, to the new
train town. The seminary stayed fixed in place for eight years, and then closed.
Nothing remains of Mantua now, other than possibly its ghosts.
It's not the watching that affects whether the pot boils, but only the degree and intensity of heat. In the past week I have seen the Bradford Pear trees bloom snow-white, and then turn leaf-green. But I don't always see my own changes.
When I turned forty, I found that I was presbyopic--that I could read better close up without glasses than with glasses. I did not notice when it began. I just looked up one day and it was the way my eyes worked.
At the end, no matter how much excitement there is in the building of something, or how much dread, it culminates in individual moments. It's a paradox that the moments last forever, and the moments fade immediately. I have lived in those times when only the exact moment lived exists.All of the prelude and all of the post-mortem doesn't change that there is before me the moment, and in this place only I make my efforts.
That old pop culture book said that when the ball crosses the net, don't think that the score is forty-love. Instead, focus on the ball. Live within the ball. Become the ball. When it comes to this volley, there is only the player, and the ball. It's in the moment, a present, focused gesture, a tensing and a relaxing.
I've known that thrill when the first move of the combination appears before me. The game is before me, and the pieces are all set on the right squares. I see the lines and pathways. I feel the way the position will change. I see the "rightness" of the squares. The pieces merge into an idea, into a Word.
It's a creative moment--an act of creation. I calculate the pattern, feel the sense of impending release, because I can infuse a tactical finesse into the seeming complexity of the position. I am in this moment only, and in this moment alone I see through the patterns. I become one with the patterns. The reach to move, and the tumblers fall into place, and everything is safe, and the safe opens. Rapid stop-action--an opening, an epiphany, the bursting of buds. But until the moment when it happens, it is indeed so subtle that one might miss it. I love the subtle clues that the position is won. I love the sense that clues arise all around us, to which we are oblivious until the position arises. I reach to make the move, and the adrenaline flows, and the season of Spring begins.