Thursday, July 30, 2009

What is this life now?

I'm sitting out in a little park near my apartment. Across from me, water pours from statue made by the sculptor Paul Manship (1886-1966), who grew up in St. Paul, and later became famous during the Art Deco period.

A woman appears to be taking photos of the statue, while cars pass behind her. The sun is beginning to slowly set to my right, while another woman appears in the park, walking her dog. Squirrels climb up a pair of large oak trees, maybe seventy or eighty years old. They begin to hiss at each other, as some leaves fall to the ground. The woman finishes her photos and stops to talk with the woman walking her dog.

I'm sitting here typing.

A tiny slice of the present moment, although even as I write it, it's already gone.

Life feels so transient when you pay attention like this. Nothing really is holding still, waiting for you to write about it, see it, do anything with it at all. It's just happening all together - so much so that even the stones lodged in the riverbed and the roots of the oldest, most stable tree aren't what they were before, just a moment ago. Not exactly.

A bee hovers around a tall, yellow flower beside me. The name of the plant escapes me, but it's very distinct, with large, long, and narrow leaves more than a foot in length and half a foot in width. The bee pauses, then dances off to another flower. I am watching, then stop to write. Watching, then stop to write.

Cars pass behind me, in front of me, to the side. What do the people in them see? Do they see much of anything of their lives, or are they just trying to get to some future which may or may not exist?

A woman raises her voice into a cell phone. What does she see as she is walking? What else can come in when we fill our lives up with noise and technology and pasts and futures?

Surely, the dog on the leash and the woman I just turned to smile at - they're taking in more of what is actually here, right now?


And maybe I'm just creating artificial divides like those with all the gadgets stuck in their ears.

Water pours from the statue: sun setting, wind picking up out of the east.

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