I tilt my head back, feel the torrent of my hair against my shoulders. It clings. Behind closed eyes, I count the weight of these strands the color of honey and gossamer fine, heavy as brocade on the back of my neck. It is afternoon on a day that renders shade a precious resource in the way that even tepid water quenches thirst. It is no cooler beneath the canvas awning, but the illusion fostered by shadow is enough. Where the shadow does not fall, the sun’s heat is furious. Active. Burning bare shins, a portion of one elbow, an unclothed shoulder. Each a conscious part of me–connected by nerve endings that sing frantic songs of fire and danger to an addled brain.
Vacuum is an Illusion
On an afternoon like this, languor is encouraged. The speed of thought slows, stills, lulled by the sound of bees gathering pollen, distant traffic, the flow of air over and through the feathers of a bird come to investigate the birdbath tucked beneath a bush. It is almost possible to believe that my existence matters to no one but myself, that I impact nothing, change nothing, touch nothing. My world is distilled to the progress of a droplet of sweat, slowly rolling down my clavicle, making a path along my breastbone, until it joins its fellows in the thin, damp cloth of my shirt. Oblivion of a sort, perhaps? Or only a momentary captivity of moisture before it rejoins the hydrologic cycle?
Vaguely, I feel a thought stir within, and sit up sleepily. Parts and wholes. My sweat, which was water bound within my body, will soon be out in the world again, free to join a thunder cloud and perhaps fall as rain. This leads me, as it always does, to another thought. My body. Mine. Me. But is it? Recent data indicates that I may simply be the biggest kid on the playground when it comes to who’s walking whom. This vessel is more the product of others than it is consciously attached to me. Endless rows of zeroes follow the microscopic forms of bacteria and infinitely tiny creatures all taking a hand in keeping this walking cosmos running.
Moments are Messy Things
That’s a messy line of thought. It opens up on endless galleries of consideration within my mind. It attempts to explore not only the interconnectedness of all matter in the universe (and the Law of Conservation of Energy) along with relative considerations about who “I” am and where that “I” is in relation to everything else, but also the way in which humans tend to take big picture satisfaction as a reason to ignore seemingly isolated details. These details, I believe, are what make up the whole in the first place. Every occurrence, birth, or death bears on every event that follows. It all seems a part of this goal-oriented blindness I’ve been lamenting in myself and others for years. This feature of Us–that we cannot see the parts and the whole as bound, as an expression of a System. That’s something I’ll need to think on further, because it bears thinking about, as unpleasant as it may become.
For now, I’m going to leave this entry and wander off somewhere. You can find me standing in my kitchen, staring at a plant or out in the yard, perhaps having a conversation with a bumble bee. I don’t have the words for what I want to say, to express my curiosity about how the complex system of 7+billion human animals is interconnected, each to every other one. It baffles me. It silences me.