“We have a soul at times. No one’s got it non-stop, for keeps. Day after day, year after year may pass without it. Sometimes it will settle for a while only in childhood’s fears and raptures. Sometimes only in astonishment that we are old. It rarely lends a hand in uphill tasks, like moving furniture, or lifting luggage, or going miles in shoes that pinch. It usually steps out whenever meat needs chopping or forms have to be filled. For every thousand conversations it participates in one, if even that, since it prefers silence. Just when our body goes from ache to pain, it slips off-duty. It’s picky: it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds, our hustling for a dubious advantage and creaky machinations make it sick. Joy and sorrow aren’t two different feelings for it. It attends us only when the two are joined. We can count on it when we’re sure of nothing and curious about everything. Among the material objects it favors clocks with pendulums and mirrors, which keep on working even when no one is looking. It won’t say where it comes from or when it’s taking off again, though it’s clearly expecting such questions. We need it but apparently it needs us for some reason too.”
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
"You know, they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally, the river floods these places. 'Floods' is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding: it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”
Toni Morrison, 1986
"I was pretty autonomous: I had a bus pass, a bike, and a house key; much of the time, nobody worried about me or knew where I was. It was the late Seventies; we had bad haircuts and wore terrible clothes, a universal unloveliness of which there is mercifully little visual record. If we had acne, we had acne; if our noses shone, they shone."
The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world. In other words, I can only recommend perspective and distance. Awareness of all the most dangerous kinds of vanity, both in others and in ourselves. A good mind. A modest certainty about the meaning of things. Gratitude for the gift of life and the courage to take responsibility for it. Vigilance of spirit.
Our bodies are wild. The involuntary quick turn of the head at a shout, the vertigo at looking off a precipice, the heart-in-the-throat in a moment of danger, the catch of the breath, the quiet moments relaxing, staring, reflecting – all universal responses of this mammal body… The body does not require the intercession of some conscious intellect to make it breathe, to keep the heart beating. It is to a great extent self-regulating, it is a life of its own. The world is our consciousness, and it surrounds us. There are more things in the mind, in the imagination, than ‘you’ can keep track of – thoughts, memories, images, angers, delights, rise unbidden. The depths of the mind, the unconscious, are our inner wilderness areas, and that is where a bobcat is right now. I do not mean personal bobcats in personal psyches, but the bobcat that roams from dream to dream. The conscious agenda-planning ego occupies a very tiny territory, a little cubicle somewhere near the gate, keeping track of some of what goes in and out, and the rest takes care of itself. The body is, so to speak, in the mind. They are both wild.
"beyond this haze, the yellow buzzy suspension of confusions, there is a glade. an opening in this wide forest we have been wandering through in faith. a clearing where the trees, all circled around as wise waiting elders, planned for us to meet. and in that clearing there is a doorway. one that opens up to stretching hills of flowing flowers, every color in synchronized swaying in a place of timeless supernatural love. a place where all the things we were born believing in our hearts have been waiting to greet us, to smile wistfully as we remember, and we (re)join in their magic. it’s been said the knowledge will come back when it needs to come back. and it’s been said that when we are ready, we will return to it. there is an opening, little angel, deep in our forest darling i will see you there"