autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Musing on the mental noise

Part of the challenge of digging up a grave is dealing with all the dirt. It gets everywhere; it sticks and cloys and all you can think about is how it was, that dirt; and you don’t think about it as neatly packed in the ground, you think about it as each individual grain, each clump, nestled around a corpse in happy repose… now, covering you and be-griming coveralls, gloves, and of course, the shovel handle.

Meh. Bad analogy. Close, but not quite right. Should I try again? Hrm.

Vacation escape; sugar-sand beach, brilliant sun, warm skin, and warmer water. You sink into it, you want to lose yourself in it. You do, for a time. Then, winter comes and all warmth is removed and you stay home and wrap up close for warmth; you forget how it was to float in comfortable warmth; you forget what it was like to bask under a radiant sun. A year passes and suddenly, it’s back. You were so busy forgetting how cold you were that you stopped noticing until suddenly, the sun; all you can think about now is immediately recreating your last, best memory; you want to soak in that warm ocean for eternity.

Even as you know you can’t.

Even as you know it’s impossible.

But you still want to do it.

I miss summer. I miss warm water and sunshine on my skin. It’s January 8th and I know it won’t be long until summer is back; but after the first passing of it, after autumn’s weary waiting and hoping for even a day of August to return, after a season of cold, chill, and shivering under blankets, even summer is somehow sad; steeped in saudade.

I think the worst part about this analogy is its best part, it accurately renders the sense of change and passing and the nature of impermanence of all things. Nothing savored is ever again fully known in the same way, and all things remembered bring both a smile and a weary sigh.

You find yourself wondering things like, “How long will it last this time?” and “Today was cold; is Winter already here?” and even “Did I dream the whole thing? Has it been winter all along? Is it winter, still?”

Already, I find that I turn eagerly any hint of sunlight. Even as I grumble to myself in the doing, “It’s probably just between clouds.” Such rich expectation of disappointment becomes its own winter, I think; little pieces of late December that make a thin veil of ice over the mind and heart.

I find that I wish the eternal summer were possible, even as I know it is precisely that wish that is making it colder here. Desire creates suffering. But the memory of summer is strong; rich and sweet and inviting. How can you not long for summer?

The human cycle, samsara, life as we know it, life as we’d like it, life as it is. Somewhere in the middle of all the shifting concepts is the single, pure tone that is joy. Hard to find it for more than a moment, but that’s only because it’s hard to remember that symphonies aren’t made by single notes.

No, actually, I don’t think this really fits into words. Ah, well, I tried.