Twisted


Driftwood
Some treess are allowed to grow straight -a tree might have stable light, stable water, stable ingredients with no tropisms that would cause them to twist. They are not safe; they are cut industriously to make other things by the toolmakers, to build things. This is so true that they are grown for that purpose, to be used for industry like so many other things. Their corpses are to be found straight and true somewhere, sometimes bent, hammered, screwed…

And then there are the survivors, those whose circumstances twist them, winds might break them, rivers may wash them away – their bones persist, washed into an ocean, their roughness worn away by the incessant massage of ocean currents and waves, their character revealed in the process.

People do not collect straight pieces of wood, they are not drawn to them – they are drawn to the gnarled and twisted driftwoods.

And yet society tries to cultivate people straight and narrow, repelled by that which is twisted until it’s character is revealed years later when it no longer lives.

Time

Do You Want to Fall in Love She AskedA strange thing, time. It’s our way of explaining things, of looking at the past and the future. It connects us and disconnects us.

The concept of time varies by culture.

We don’t think enough about something that has such control over the way we deal with our lives – and how ‘time’ varies with people we interact with in a global community.

They say that time heals, but if time heals it’s by transporting us to somewhere else – sometime else – where things are different. It’s not time that changed, it’s our environment – internal and external – that changes, and we mark it in our own versions of time.

And if we remove time altogether, we flatten our lives into a summary of all the interactions we’ve had and how we’ve interacted with it.

The living call this death.

Without Time

We are creatures of time, of heartbeats, of solar rotations and lunar rotations all affected by things that, if we dedicate our human lives to it, we can only map partially. There are people who dedicate their lives to standing on the shoulders of previous giants, peering further into the murky depths of our reality. And then we have others, dedicating their lives to attempting to assure that we as a species survive, while we have others that allow us to grapple with the uncertainty of being human.

What we do in time is interact. We interact with each other. We interact with our environment, be it moving stones or working collectively to visit the Moon. The harsh word here, the pat on the back there, the clearing of a drain or the tossing of refuse  in it – we all interconnect, and all of these things happen over time. How we grow. How we change. How we do these things as individuals, and how we do these things as societies, and how we do these things as a species.

We measure ourselves by time, but when we die time no longer exists for us and we become summarized by the universe in the actions we took and didn’t take. A life well intended is not always well spent, where we might think we’re doing something good when, generations later, we find that it was wrong. We make the best decisions we can with the information we have and, if we are intelligent, we know we don’t have all the information – that we’re just winging it. And if that bothers us, we look to comfort rather than answers. Fragile, we’re so fragile.

Remove time; that we are living or dead only matters to us – no one else, nothing else, we are the ants under the child’s magnifying glass at most and the ant you don’t see while walking around. We are affected by things that we do not understand and we affect things that we do not understand.

Without time, we simply used energy to use energy.

Without time, we are nothing, and with time, we become nothing. We are agents of change on the things around us.

We are as real as the wind; alone we are nothing, together we are a passing breeze on the universe, a force of nature. Temporary permutations of particles looking for meaning in a universe that has already defined us.

A Stitch In Time Saves Mind.

A Heart Sewn Back TogetherWe are bits and pieces, sewn together across time all the while unraveling. Life is a calculus, a rate of change where we are sewn together faster than we unravel.

It’s odd that we pull our own threads just as we pick at scabs. We know not to do it, but it’s as if we want to see what’s inside. We’re uncomfortable with healing, the fresh stitches itch.

Maybe we worry about infection, and in doing so sometimes we cause it.

However it ends up, we’re constantly fixing ourselves as we unravel. Time always wins, in the backs of our minds we know this. No amount of new medical advances take that away, and can we possibly live longer than we’re supposed to? But, we’ll say, we can’t possibly live longer than we’re supposed to – a circular logic. An attempt at perpetual motion with logic.

I’m stitched together across time. Across geography. Across worlds that people isolate themselves in with their groups, their cultures, and I watch those worlds and wonder how long they can exist – and when I think that these worlds will converge. There is leakage here and there, but the bubbled worlds remain – their surface tension defying everything.

“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquiring of knowledge, and that much happier than man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”  – Mary Shelly, Frankenstein (1918).

And these worlds, stitched together, form my world, which, stitched to other worlds… and at some point, the calculus of Life will unravel them too.

And there are days when I’m not sure whether I should pull on a thread or man the needle.

Today has been such a day.

Beneath The Wheel

The Old Town Astronomical ClockWe are all beneath the wheel, the crush of time, the prolapse of our minds and souls as things change around us.

A Snapshot

The teenager man-boy, a quotient of a fractured home, tries to find his way to manhood in an alien environment where someone who cared enough gave him a roof with conditions, walls with rules, and a freedom to be responsible where before he had none.

He works in the yard under the mock disdain of an elderly gentleman who did not invite the project, but who in his own way wants the best for the young man, suffering the indifference of the teenager to his words.

I am a visitor in this realm, as with most other realms, and I’m supposed to have some purpose here – which, of course, is to find my purpose there, as it is anywhere.

Time is not on the side of anyone.

The elderly man, who we’ll call grandfather, thinks of his downhill slope to the grave. It sits behind his eyes as he looks over the world in front of him – as if it were a story he has seen before, worn, lucid, tired.

The boy – let’s call him the nephew – does not understand that when I look at him, I think of this quotation and ponder:

When a tree is polled, it will sprout new shoots nearer it’s roots. A soul that is ruined in the bud will frequently return to the springtime of it’s beginnings and it’s promise-filled childhood, as though it could discover new hopes and retie the broken threads of life. The shoots grow rapidly and eagerly, but it is only a sham life that will never be a genuine tree. – Hermann Hesse, Beneath The Wheel

He is young and yet he has catching up to do, having missed the starting gun that society fires too often too early for the children it creates.

He is a child in puberty, not yet a young man in mind or spirit. His childhood has not been misplaced, it has been stunted and his misfortune is that given his abilities, he must cast away the slivers of childhood he was left with all the while reshaping into a man before his time. While society creates the children like him, it does not tolerate adults like him.

He feels the crush of the pressure and, being stubborn, pushes back or not at all. He is like a plant that atrophies at the sunlight it needs.

At some point he will bend or he will break, it is the way of the world – a way that is not couched in the anthropomorphized visions  of well intentioned people, but rather the way that is couched in the grand bureaucracies and cultures we use to govern our kind. The same grand bureaucracies and cultures that creates children like him.

And then there I am, an observer and not – an Uncle of sorts, new to his world, young to the older man, trying to have a positive effect all the while considering, thinking about how difficult he was at that age, and how everything that was tried on me didn’t work – and through my own muddlings, I found my answers that became questions of answers, to questions of those, to stand there and not have answers and simply more questions. I see the time short for both, the grandfather and the nephew, and in the reflections of their clocks I see a parallax of my own.

I have no great wisdom to cross the voids, only the knowledge to avoid the cliched mistakes. For self-preservation, I wear the visage of the observer and say things that I hope might make it through in time for the nephew, for he has little time before he too is beneath the crush of the wheel that will only bend him if he learns, but will break him if he does not.

The crush of the world as time ticks onward, and it does not care if you slouch or stand straight. It has no care for what bends or breaks, no empathy, no sympathy. It is the machine, the product of millenia of human generations, an antique as easily found in the basement of humanity as on a museum walls of academia and governance.

The Tide

NSB Sunrise

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.

Every morning.

The Promise of New Horizons

NSB Sunrise (BW)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.
NSB Sunrise

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.