Wednesday, December 9, 2015

tugging at roots

My house says to me, “Do not leave me, for here dwells your past.” 
And the road says to me, “Come and follow me, for I am your future.” 
--Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Floating at the top of the slender half-liter glass, the white foam bubbled quietly, the hiss of carbon dioxide sizzling towards the surface. The cloud of bubbles floated serenely on the amber liquid. A thin drizzle of some glistening red liquid marked chasms in the foamy bed, like rogue autumn leaves sinking into fresh snow.

I blew gently on the foam, watching it whirl and bank on the rim of the glass. Captivated by the motion, I churned the foam with the straw provided (why?), and watched it swirl with the beer beneath it.

Paul says he can be all things to all people; but he may be the exception.
I am quite offended that I cannot fit all the activities I wish to participate in, all the projects I want to complete, and all the conversations I want to have into one day. It seems wildly unreasonable. But I, like all humans, must prioritize. Which means not doing everything each day or everything all at once.

This imbalance of time, this lack of eternity, creates a pull inside each day. A tension between all the relationships that cry for one's attention, far-flung; from California to Maine; from India to Africa and back again. One's heart is dragged all over the world. All the places that were ever home call to you, demanding your return. All the people who hold a piece of your very being beckon to you, offering you the remembrance of who you are when you encounter another soul.

And then there is the immediate moment. There is the present, that seems to be always in conflict with the future. The future yanks at your arm, dragging you forward into it, demanding intense preparations and at least one of your eyes on it at all times.
But there is now. And the now is disappearing so quickly and dangerously. The now seems to be the joint prisoner of the past and the future. But the present doesn't allow time to stop and think about it: There are the students who are asking for you: for your attention and your love, and just your presence. There are the people all around you who need nothing more than just your presence, and the simple jobs that need nothing more than your simple attention. There is a city full of darkness that needs a light.

My eyes were heavy with champagne, and the posh, tall room was lousy with mindless luxury.
I remembered what restlessness was like.
I will always be somewhat peripatetic.
Perhaps restlessness comes and goes in waves; starts and stops in bursts. Perhaps restlessness is native to everywhere that is not an airport. Perhaps restlessness is the fate of any human who has come to rest.
But I am at peace.
I am at peace here, in the present--in the now--with all of its currents and tides dragging me every which way. They pull at me, but do not drag me under.
I am at peace here, in the eye of the maelstrom of constant activity and dead, rushing air.
I am at peace here, in this place where the past and future meet.

And I say to both my house and the road, “I have no past, nor have I a future. If I stay here, there is a going in my staying; and if I go there is a staying in my going. Only love and death will change all things.” --Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

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