There's a path near a river in my hometown. Around a foot wide at most, cutting across a sharp slope, it was a frequently used byway when I was a child. Through the neighbours' back yard, across their street, and just around a low-lying wall and handrail preventing people from falling into over the edge into the valley. We'd descend, one hand on the wall to steady us. Stinger nettles occasionally brushed bare legs; other times we'd slip, shorts and sneakers dirt-smeared. Navigating under bridges, across rocks in the river, we avoided sidewalks and blacktop and driveways and town squares and anywhere stamped with that distinctly human "for us by us" structure and logic.
I thought of that path two or three days ago for the first time in maybe 10, maybe 12 years. It came to me for no reason as I stood in the shower washing my hair and listening to the radio. Just the opening of the path, the tree to the left, the colour of the wall, the sensation of setting out upon it first foot first. Not only that: the sensation of then. All at once. Strong, real. More complex and rich than memories I've had of a million other things. This little tiny path that I used to walk. The sensation of there, then. Not here, now. I can't even write what that means. How are you supposed to write life? How are you supposed to write time? What words could do that justice? If I could write a poem about it, what reader wouldn't see a path of his own?
It faded as quickly as it had come back to me. Standing there motionless, ridiculous with shampoo-spiked hair, I considered going back and walking that path on a lark the next time I end up at home. The thought of doing that filled me with a sorrow I could barely fight off. Even now, I'm saddened remembering that remembering and feeling this forgetting. It was replaced by a question: if I could make a three-dimensional map of my world, what would it look like? What areas would be illuminated, what ones covered in shade? How would its shape have changed in the last ten years? Could a path the width of my forearm ever dwarf a highway? What else have I forgotten? I need to know before I forget the need itself. You never know what's lost until you remember a detail that didn't matter when it was yours.
If I could condense the sound of every motion I'll ever make, every word I'll ever speak, ever cry I'll ever utter, into five minutes and hear it, what would it sound like? Not as a song from beginning to end, but a loop of everything at once. Sometimes I think of life itself, life with other people, in terms of sound, music, harmony, dissonance, and most importantly resonance. Would that sound be the singing of the spheres brought down to earth? Would it be beautiful or ugly? Could it be both at once? I feel like it would scorch me and stop my heart. At least that's what I hope.
Orders of business:
- I have decided to try and cease the consumption of alcohol for one month, for various reasons.
- I am currently enjoying a passing interest in more analytic philosophy, including that of Donald Davidson, Willard Van Orman Quine, P.F. Strawson, and so on. I've read these guys before to some extent, but as a style of inquiry their writings have drawn my attention in the last little while.
- I'm also trying to learn modal logic to some extent.
- Time is moving noticeably faster than it was last year right now.
- I'm worried a lot.
- The need to write is something I'm finding harder and harder to put aside. I don't know where this will end up.
- I want, more than anything, to stop moving. That said, I want to be quick, even when standing still.
I feel different now.