Wednesday, October 24, 2012

on a Wednesday in a cafe

I don't have a good head for measurements. I really don't.
I have no visual-spatial reference chart sitting in my head, the mental scale-rule that some people can instinctually draw from is missing in me.
Okay, to be fair, I might be able to imagine what a yard looks like. But three yards, a meter, or (saints preserve us), a millimeter?
Nope. Nada. Nothing. Drawing a blank.
(That doesn't stop me from giving joyfully egregiously wrong distance estimates. I will gladly tell you the distance between the two walls of this classroom is 48 feet, that the glass tumbler I'm drinking water out of is half a millimeter thick, and that my backyard is 50 square acres. All those numbers just sound right.)

One thing I am good at is knowing people: knowing how people talk, act, and think.

I can hear what words ring true in the mouth of a character, and what lines of speech are stilted and forced, put there by their author, as opposed to rising out of the character's own soul.

I can see what sort of nervous ticks differentiate a boy who's head over heels in the nervous first-blush of love, and a boy who's so stifled by discomfort he can't keep still.

If you watch a girl who enters a room and then decides where to sit, you can tell if she's sitting next to her best friend, the only person she knows in the room, or the boy on whom she has a crush.

I don't know much about numbers, but I know people. And I know words.

You can describe the physical sunset with numbers, but the effect the sunset works on your heart and soul is numerically indescribable. But you can attempt to describe it with words.

You can describe how old a human being's physical body is with numbers. But a human's soul can't be tied down or described by any single age. I know what little two-year-old boy looks like, sounds like, smiles like, and acts like. But I couldn't describe a soul as two. It simply wouldn't apply.

Numbers, like the rest of the physical world, are very beautiful, and show-off the elegance and stylish grace of creation.
But numbers are, by their nature, units of limitation and division; and unity is the supernatural order of the world. There is something stifling about living in a world where one eternal moment is divided into twenty-four hour days, sixty minutes each hour, sixty seconds each minute.

Not that I don't like Time. I love Time. I love seasons, years, and months and delight in their beauty.
But time is temporal.
The two-year-old next to me in this church pew will out-live Father Time. This little boy's soul is already older than the first-born of creation.
That's what we call poetry. And it escapes the understanding of the most elegant equation.

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