on contemplating a few things

let's go for a list of contemplations, because it's quicker, easier, prettier than I could ever be in paragraphs:

1. switching over to WordPress, because everybody else who is using it seems to make things look a lot nicer than Blogger.

2. entering the blogospheric static concerning this year's hotly contested election by wagging a lyrical finger at the opposition and accusing barack obama of soullessness or sarah palin of lipstickery or john mccain of jowlyness or finding a reason not to care instead of hinging emotional well-being on something to which I only contribute one vote.

3. riding my red, red bicycle to work.

4. talking to the gorgeous barista at my favorite coffeeshop, but still thinking of people in faraway places

5. wondering for how many people number four has applied to in the last twenty minutes. probably me and the man staring longingly out the window, hand to his chin for the last thirty minutes. no one can sit so still, without contemplating the beauty of a barista!

6. moving out this weekend and how many trips I'll have to take in my car to get my crap from my folks' place to a new place.

7. seven, it has always been seven.


on awaiting arrivals and departures

a plane (though not this one), flying so low and loudly that impact felt imminent, passed over our office this morning.

it reminded me then, and rarely this happens in the moment, of being much younger underneath colossal noises such as that. the mystical qualities of flight, then, when we were young enough to know nothing of mechanics like lift, dominated our imaginations; airplanes were so much bigger than we could ever be and did things we could never do, like stretch out wings and war against gravity successfully—the things we dreamed of doing as we leapt from top bunks with umbrellas and blankets hoping to win for a moment such as the ongoing war of airplane versus ground.

occasionally, it grips me like fingers on an armrest, the rush and shudder of liftoff when thinking of youth. being so young that flight felt like the natural outgrowth of being older, staying up as late as possible until after hours flight would reveal itself. it wasn't simple, though, as we are often prone to say. no, it was magical, the whole world sewn together by inconceivable threads that if seen could illuminate life and all its mysteries. and, growing up was the key that gave us vision to see.

then, we found out, slowly by that very act of growing up, that the vision to see was science, physics that explained aerodynamics and propulsion, and were unimpressed over time by the logical sequences that governed it all, thus did modernity wipe us clean of all imagination. now, airplanes and flights provide us sometimes-long threads of inactivity, spaces to read books instead of time to marvel at the air between us and the ground and our successful war against gravity.

then, while reading or watching a dvd on a laptop, the imagination returns, the ground is so far away! and all the ability of physics to explain wonder away disappears in the distance between you and the earth. and we are reabsorbed into the atmosphere, among clouds and other low-flying planes.

(photo, Jim Weidman, 2008)


on a tremendous rain

and, the streets will run like rivers. when they do, we'll trade our cars for makeshift rafts made out of responsibilities and couch cushions; we'll name first mates and captains and pirates where we used to name First and Main. Instead, we'll put oars in until they hit asphalt and traverse passes once reserved for horsepower and hisses, shouting at stoplights instead of easing to a stop. There will be some who don't make it, who can't swim, and they will be lost. We have already lost so many who couldn't fashion rafts out of imagination and what surrounded them in a room, washed away.
But, you and me, we're dreamers; we've seen the flood as our open door and walked boldly out into an inhospitable world to men and women on foot. And, in putting in, we're already saying that there is a river, we are captains, and we'll get to wear hats.


on no tongue

sometimes, it takes awhile for me to find something to say, but when it comes, it comes and i hope you read it (o reader).

i've had hymns running over and over in my head recently. i've been humming them as i walk into Dunkin' Donuts with blatant disregard for what humming does to distract other patrons. they're big things, hymns. they're not meant to be hummed alone; they're choral things. they want to be sung by groups of people, all of whom sing different lines, some alto, some bass and so on. when it's just a melody, it seems bare. humming a single melody with a sweating cup of iced coffee in your hand is nothing like a thunderous sanctuary filled with song, melody and harmonies layered on top of each other.

it helps us reassert that we are not individuals. we are layered lines, one on top of another, one below, supporting, accenting, completing, fulfilling. otherwise, we're fragments.

when my host father drove me to work in Uganda, he had a wonderful knack to sing the lines to a hymn and not always the melody. trodding down the road that bisects Kalerwe Market, he would sing, "When peace like a river, attendeth my way" in a trembling voice, nothing like a boom. his thick accent llaced into every line, he would change the tempo, occasionally lose the key, change sections from melody to tenor, from bass to melody. eventually, though, i learned to chime in, to begin singing the parts he wasn't singing. until, without much deliberate collaboration, we sang all the way through a traffic jam, and wished each other well for the workday as i exited the car.

they weren't elegant songs, and it wasn't an elegant sanctuary. we flubbed lyrics; the inside of a Nissan pales in comparison to the vaulted ceilings of a church. it was sloppy and beautiful.

i'm humming out sloppy and beautiful moments, with every iced coffee and car ride. they are all around me, and they are full of memories.