Because what are we without five minutes ago?

street-art-paint-roller

My husband, Rich, lost his memory after he was hit by a car and suffered traumatic brain injury. In a moment of perfect clarity he once described his loss like this. “Pretend you are walking up the street with your friend. You are looking in windows. But right behind you is a man with a huge paint roller filled with white paint and he is painting over everywhere you’ve been, erasing everything. He erases your friend. You don’t even remember his name.” It’s terrifying. Because we are we without five minutes ago? What are we without our stories? Where is the continuum of consciousness? Is it all one big lily pad of a moment?

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir


Image: Street Art via mennyfox55

And I know now what a moment can hold

bath-tub

And then I hear the water rumbling into the tub. Naked, the baby’s arms and long legs flail against the bare air, and she wails. “Oh you,” I whisper, unable yet to call her by my name, “it’s all right.” I want my joy pure, I want to get rid of the echo in my head. This is my granddaughter, named for me. This beautiful child. I gather her up, nuzzling her soft face, and bring her into the bathroom, and my daughter, her breasts heavy with milk, reaches up her arms for the child. The moment she is lowered into the water the baby stops crying, her body goes limp, her eyelids drop—it all happens at once. Under her half-closed lids her irises are now moving left to right, over and over, rhythmically, as if to a beat. At first I am afraid, and put my hand in the water to make sure it’s not too hot, but it is fine, comfortable. We don’t speak, but my daughter touches my arm as we realize what we are looking at, what the two of us are being shown. This is the face of the unborn child. And I know now what a moment can hold.

~ Abigail Thomas, What the Moment Can Hold. Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life


Photo: With Love and Light

I fear their false urgency, their call to speed, their insistence that travel is less important than arrival

walk-beach-wind-breeze-hair
Where does it start? Muscles tense. One leg a pillar, holding the body upright between the earth and sky. The other a pendulum, swinging from behind. Heel touches down. The whole weight of the body rolls forward onto the ball of the foot. The big toe pushes off, and the delicately balanced weight of the body shifts again. The legs reverse position. It starts with a step and then another step and then another that add up like taps on a drum to a rhythm, the rhythm of walking. The most obvious and the most obscure thing in the world, this walking that wanders so readily into religion, philosophy, landscape, urban policy, anatomy, allegory, and heartbreak. […]

As a member of the self-employed whose time saved by technology can be lavished on daydreams and meanders, I know these things have their uses, and use them — a truck, a computer, a modem — myself, but I fear their false urgency, their call to speed, their insistence that travel is less important than arrival. I like walking because it is slow, and I suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour. If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or thoughtfulness.

― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking


Don’t miss Brain Pickings entire post: Wanderlust: Rebecca Solnit on Walking and the Vitalizing Meanderings of the Mind


Image: Sweet Senderipity

Saturday Morning

hammock

I think about time differently since I got to be this old.
I think of each moment as a big La-Z-Boy,
or perhaps a hammock,
and the only direction is a little back and forth,
or side to side.
For this I need peace and quiet,
and I eschew all outside stimulation.
Perhaps this is why the future escapes me.

~ Abigail Thomas, What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir


Photo: Jo Lynn Zamudio via Outdoor Magic

Linear. Continuum?

face-moment-portrait

I don’t experience life in a linear fashion,
in any kind of continuum.
It’s moment, moment, moment, moment.”

~ Amy Hempel, BOMB Magazine


Notes: quote via invisiblestories. Photograph: Eric Rose. Thank you Jonathan for the inspiration.

Sunday Morning

georges-perec-quote

~ Georges Perec, Things: A Story of the Sixties; A Man Asleep


Source: Invisible Stories

 

Bangbangbangbangbang

woodpecker

A very small woodpecker is beating his brains out against a piece of metal on the telephone pole across the street. Bangbangbangbangbang. I stand underneath. “There are no bugs in there,” I call up to him, “you’re going to blunt your beak,” but he keeps hammering away. We have a lot of woodpeckers. Great big ones, and the noise they make is very loud. Maybe this poor baby thinks he’s doing it right. There’s a lesson in this somewhere, and I hope I’ve already learned it.

~ Abigail Thomas, What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir


Notes:

It is polarizing, and it is peaceful

Britain G8 Foreign Ministers

I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.

I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.

~ Angelina Jolie Pitt, in The Diary of A Surgery upon learning of the threat of ovarian cancer


Image: huffington post

Gulping down undigested experiences

fingers,

As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?


Notes:

That’s it folks…

sequential-date

Happy Sequential Date. The last one this century. (That’s sobering)

Enjoy every moment!


Source: This Isn’t Happiness. Share inspired by Emil Cioran (The Trouble With Being Born): “This very second has vanished forever, lost in the anonymous mass of the irrevocable. It will never return. I suffer from this, and I do not. Everything is unique—and insignificant.”