Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Up at Tosi's, where there's no wireless. It feels strange, now, to be disconnected: I like it in a way, but I find my mind groping, at every transition, for some way to check for new mail and new Facebook notifications. The way, when the kids were little, I would always be checking their safety, always be listening for noises or ominous silences. I love my online communities; I love being connected; but I don't think this constant nervous nibbling at social reassurance is an entirely good thing. I find myself longing for silence, for the mountains, for the play of wind and water against a deep background throb of quiet. I am not entirely at ease. I have been pushing too hard too long.

Playing with Anki, a flashcard program, as I read my Spanish Hobbit: so far I find it intuitive and easy to use. Adding twenty “cards” per day. Just four days in, so I don't know how it will behave when I've built up a substantial deck, but it might be a tool I want to use a lot.

It takes a long slow weary time to become human, for some of us. I preach the Church of the Bitter End and the news of your guilt, boy. I'm loving Marly's White Camelia: the story of Pip's slow coming-to-humanity cuts close to the bone, for me. It's always been too easy for me to cut free of ties, to shrug and wonder if any of it matters, really, to lose myself in the sheer welter of the senses, the building of patterns and their collapse.

A twelve-step program for pattern-addicts, said the Rabbi on my table, describing her path, and I said that was mine too. A 5,000 year tradition insisting on the absolute reality of the Abstract travels west from Palestine, halfway across the world, and meets a 2,500 year tradition insisting on the absolute unreality of the Abstract, which has traveled east halfway across the world the other way from India, and now they're thumbs in the hollows of the shoulders in a sunny room in Portland, Oregon, and they find that they've become very close to the same thing. How's that for a pattern? Leave it. Leave all of them.

I'm a slow reader of fiction now: I'm more tuned to poetry than to prose. I like to read a page or two and then mull it over, maybe write back to it. There's something to be said for losing yourself in a story for days, taking it in so fast you don't even know what you're drinking till you're drunk of it, but that doesn't seem to be my way any more.

Clouds piling up in a sky that was pure blue this morning: the sun has vanished and my hands are cold. Time to ride home, change the laundry, make a salad, get to work. Cross the street carefully and watch for cars, my dears. We need you.


Zhoen said...

That was the message I needed to hear right now.

Approach the truth from either direction.

am said...

Yes. A pattern language.

Me, too.

We need each other and these patterns meeting.

marly youmans said...

You are always an interesting commentator on reading (and life, Dale! (Waving from Cullowhee...)

Anne said...

Many years ago I used to smoke cigarettes. Smoking, among other things, was a reason to sit down, to pause for a moment. Checking the web for me is a substitute for smoking.

Life is a pattern.