Posts filed under 'Musing'

Questionable Generosity

Looking for gifts from the ocean, I see a little stone. It’s for me! I try to pick it up and it is too heavy. I dig, it’s more than buried, it’s embedded. I’m starting to sense that it’s quite a bit larger than I thought. I wait for a wave to come up high enough that it will help me excavate my present. The wave recedes, and I realize with a terrified start that the “stone” has the exact shape, color and texture of a horse’s hoof. My god, what kind of gift is this?! Terrified, I can’t stop digging. I am about to uncover a dead, buried horse. Forgotten to the world until the tip of one hoof broke the surface of his sandy grave. Great is my relief, tempered with disappointment, when my fingers finally gain purchase, and I find that my gift is, after all, a rock.

Add comment May 29th, 2008

Intellectual Cannibalism

This book was published in 1774. As I turn pages, they crumble at the edges. There’s a miniscule but growing pile of dust just below the bottom margin of volume II and I wait, slightly hunched, for a librarian to notice. Meanwhile, I breathe; in, out, in, out. Deep research breaths, forcing the lonely air of the cloistered inside to satisfy the demands of my outside-yearning lungs. The pile of dust doesn’t really change in size, though I turn pages and create dust for hours at a time… At the end of the day my lungs feel ever so slightly congested and I want to cough. I realize that I’ve inhaled the book. Just the margins so far, so no real harm has been done. But will I inhale a word tomorrow? Which word will it be? The one I’m looking for? Where will it go? Will microscopic fragments of paper ride on oxygen molecules, to take up residence inside my cells? I imagine birds collecting bits of tin foil, gum wrappers and unraveled fabric to piece together the nests where they will raise their children. Can I say I’ve done my research if I’ve made it part of my body? How many books have I inhaled over my academic life? Are they lodged in my cellular crevices, holding things up, holding things together?

Add comment May 26th, 2008

Synapse

There’s a squirrel that runs between two trees, always from the tree on the left to the tree on the right. He never retraces his steps, he just always, somehow, reappears in the left tree. As if by magic, or teleportation. Does he tunnel? Move faster than the speed of light? Anticipate my gaze and move only when I blink? Which leads me to wonder. What if the human brain is dreadfully simple? What if we fill in our perceptual blanks with assumptions about what must happen, in order to reconcile reality with our clumsy laws of physics? Maybe time and space swirl, and the two trees are occasionally in the same place at the same time. Maybe the squirrel only ever moves from left to right. What if we expend all our energy imagining, projecting, wanting a predictable reality… until there’s none left to see the far more interesting truth?

Add comment May 19th, 2008