Life ought be little more than arrhythmic motion, a path we only want to straighten, to smooth, its natural, necessary twists and bumps somehow, for we always see them as impediments not moments of joyous indecision where there are no wrong choices for each choice unfolds a new path never trodden, never imagined or foreseen.
A bird flies to where it needs to be, but for most that are not migrating, that place isn’t known until arrival and even then, save for nesting, it is the right place only for a day, a week, a month or perhaps only a moment, for a bird knows only this moment and this until there are no more moments.
In the dark heart of night time is suddenly frozen, the clock’s hands stalactites and stalagmites, unyielding denying the approach of morning, leaving the sun imprisoned under the watchful gaze of its celestial wardens.
It is then you appear, call out to me, beg me be silent, not asking the lifetime of questions I have accreted, providing my own hopes and imagination for answers, but you have faces, not those of that weekend but of other days, she younger, in college, he in a college yearbook at a school he never attended save as part of the ROTC contingent of the Air Force.
I bid you farewell, finally, and time again takes motion and morning welcomes the sun.
Once they pierced your heels to hobble you, bound up feet and ankles to lash you to the earth, there weren’t angels then, no wings, just the pain of toes crushed inward, the silent agony of motion, a cruel joke played by gods starved for entertainment. But Terpsichore, hearing Erato’s song, set them free brought them to a pointe, allowed them to take wingless flight, and toes became a platform from which their joy rose up spinning, whirling, slashing until even the most jaded of the gods fell silent in awe.
In the beginning there was a void, stasis, dimensionless. I am a point, without size taking form only in motion, so too the seat on which I sit on United flight 951 not going from point A to point B for neither can exist in motion transcending time.
Each decision sets one me on a path, into a dimension, dimensions while I tread a different path and I a third, yet I have seen the step ahead before having been on its path as all random walks must cross endlessly. The universe grows crowded with exponential me’s creating paths, and so must expand, until we cross and in some minuscule amount contract the cosmos.
Often I seek pain to slow the pace, or pleasure to quicken it, always immutable. I have learned all of this in my endless search for my paradoxical twin who prefers the accelerated pace, moving as quickly as possible, who looks younger at each intersection. Good night Albert.
First Appeared in Afterthoughts (Canada), Vol. 2, No. 4, Autumn 1995.
God is fixed in the firmament seen as puppet master by some patrician uncle, small child endlessly shifting blocks in new, transitory universes. All things recede from a point, have since the creation and that point, dimensionless is God, vast and infinite. It swings lazily, back, forth a needle in its cusp tracing lines in the bed of sand in constant motion as we and earth, and all of our universe spin slowly around its focus, it swings lazily back, forth, tracing an ever-shifting path marked in displaced sand ponderous from its fine steel tendril which rises to a point without size, shape, or time, frozen a singularity from which all else emanates. God lives, bat-like on the ceiling of the San Francisco Science Museum and the Hayden Planetarium and countless other buildings given to science, omnipresent yet fixed dimensionless and infinite always a ladder’s climb just out of reach.
As you look out the window you say the branches of the tree are dancing, the clouds barely stopping to gaze down on the scene. Walk outside and feel the breeze skitter along your skin, see the seed pods of the maple take wing and fly off. Ask yourself why this is, is it the wind you see moving things or is it the things moving creating a breeze, which? Consider that it is only your mind that is moving, for if you do not look or think of these motions, how can you know if they stop?
A reflection on case 146 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
The summer sky barely pauses to consider what might be going on beneath it. Everything seems to move, there can be no stillness. Once in the rarest of whiles, the sky and the river align, and each is frozen in a stasis that defies understanding or categorization. The stars realize this and shine a moment longer.
It does nothing, sits there, immobile and this deeply frustrates you. Things are not supposed to be absolutely still, some motion, however small is required. You stare at it, hoping it will move, will shake or lift, or even settle lower but it does nothing. You sit and stare in growing anger absolutely still doing nothing.