Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tiny minds and Umbrellas

When I was little, I thought big. As I grew bigger, I learnt to think smaller. I realised that the visions I had as large as the Himalayas, I could never ultimately keep climbing. My knees would always break down somewhere half way up, or the snows would bury me. That no matter how many times I jumped off my front steps clutching an umbrella, I would never take flight across the roofs of Hawarden. Because there are certain laws to this universe that cannot be overruled even by imagination, such as gravity, and these laws are tougher than even our stongest idealism. There is always a pragmatic wind blowing through the landscape of our dreams, pulling it apart. Physics makes us all its bitches.
And so, from this perspective, this fatherly advice, creeps in that terrible phenomena which seems to haunt our world - the tinying of the mind.

I remember standing at my bedroom window when I was young and pointing to the night sky outside and saying to my Mum " but what about all this?"

I distinctly remember her reply " We all think about such things when we are young. You will forget. Life takes over".

I remember being devastated by this, more so because my mother had actually contemplated such things as the universe and what this life means, but then promptly seemed to set it aside when the correct time came. But I also felt defiant that I would never become what she said I would become - a forgetter.

Are we all forgetters, wandering the streets with convenient amnesia? It is a necessary condition of existence, huh, if we are not to go mad, run through the streets, our clothes torn to shreds, the predator of truth chasing us, chasing us to the edge of the endless drop? Every angel is terrifying, after all.

We are hardly going to look up from our bedsheets and our spreadsheets and our tiny calculations of life to stare at this winged being flapping its giant wings at us. But then, what about the loss? What is left when the dreaming departs, when imagination is crushed to the ground, and we stop believing in things we cannot see?

In and out of vision we can go. Grasp the mantle of a spiritual quest and follow until we are forced to let go, until we see even through the limitations of yearning for a quest at all. It is crushing. It is liberating, if you can stand the loss.

And so everything that ever meant anything, at some point, gets stripped away. And will continue to, as long as it is held and cherished as the answer clear. So that we can move on.

Dreams are born to live and to age and to finally, like everything else, to wither and die. We keep none of it.

And yet that is still not the end. How can it be? The walking is the best bit, we often just don't see it until the journey's over.

And so, when I was little, I thought big. As I grew bigger, I learnt to think smaller. Then I learnt to think big again, with the shadow of death and ending by my side, taking in all the little beauties on the way, whilst still walking the line, at least most of the time.

We bring into daylight the dreams that haunt our sleep, knowing even they will come to an end. To remember, and keep remembering, to keep jumping off that step, umbrella in hand, no matter what.

This is deep beauty, with these tiny, fragile eyes of ours, to embrace all that we love, all we know to be true, falling forever into the abyss.

Let us never forget.


laurel said...

ah, so that is what the slow expanding and contracting of my mind over the years meant... right now...I'm glad it's expanding...dreaming a big dream...I hope you are as well...

theseus said...

"if you stare into the abyss long enough it stares back into you."