I don’t really like mirrors – I never have for whatever reason – yet now and then I use them to make sure I don’t look like someone who hates mirrors. Those people are relatively easy to spot, and they stand out a bit too much to be able to disappear into the background and observe effectively.
And every now and then I stare into the mirror and look at myself. I look at what is there. I think about what used to be there. As we grow older, we start with grey hair, we start with wrinkles – lines that tell us what facial expressions we wear the most. We see the scars and remember their stories.
We remember what used to be there, the younger versions of us that would become what is there now. We become the maps of our lives, a physical story of the changes made by ourselves.
And then I pull away and move on – not because I don’t like what I see, liking it or disliking it is of no value. It’s the same reason I’ve always hated mirrors.
They can only tell you what is there and you can only see what has happened between stops at the mirror.
What you cannot see is the future.
The cliché, “History repeats itself”, is a dull echo of a George Santayana quote and is in itself, timeless – but it has a rhythm of usage throughout history, I’m sure.
I’m sure of this because the study of history is simply the study of mankind dancing to it’s own rhythm.
It’s apparently a really great beat to dance to, so mankind dances.
A culture repeats things, and all around the world, cultures repeated things. As the world began to change, bureaucracies were formed – largely to govern – but bureaucracies were to keep things from changing quickly1. And so they did, and so they do, and so they will. They govern the rhythm of a society, the rhythm the society dances too.
Maybe if we got better DJs we’d have better choreography.
1 Gleick, James Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, Pantheon Books, 1999.
The salt breeze beckons.
Standing on the edge, water
Laps at the feet, licks the legs
The toes sink with each wave,
Rooting, poised, still, ready
Anchored in the present,
Eyes to the future
The tide dragging it closer,
The past washes away.
Once again, I drove out to the beach this morning expecting the chill start of the day would create great isotherms with the sub-Saharan dust, making for wonderful colors. The chill would assure less people were there running through my frames.
And like most quiet mornings there, I had time to consider. There are a lot of things on my mind right now – be it finding the next job, to issues with land, to family, to friends, to all those details that compose our lives – and we tend to judge them in black and white. We tend to think in what’s good for us and what’s not. If you think long enough about them, they become noise and you can get underneath.
This morning, underneath, I thought about how some live lives that they regret while others regret lives that they don’t have – and how wasteful regret is when you are staring at a horizon.A colorful horizon.
Where we stand gives us the view, how we got to that point is history – a series of steps or missteps, a product of planning with a co-efficient of the randomness of life. There is no sense in worrying about how we got there. the only thing that really matters is where we want to be – where we think we’re supposed to be…
And getting there.
Just like framing a shot at the beach.
Grasping on the handlebars
Of a grotesque yesterday
I careen through this space
I bounce through this time
Trying to build something that
Defies even the architect
And I’ve never been so alone
And I knew that.
Fifteen years ago I walked away
Running from the yard
Returning to fifteen years of
And small insects that sting
And looking back
I knew that.
So here I am, the only things changed
The challenge increased
And I hope my abilities have
And I sit and stare at an empty yard
Pondering the thoughts that I repent
Thinking of the ways to clean
Trying to clear things, and…
I knew that.