5/27/15

Neither do I

A: Why is it that everytime I think out loud it feels like I'm tying verbal knots?

B: It has something to do with the fact that there aren't any rules for thinking out loud. I guess you could go one step further and say there really aren't any rules to thinking in general.

A: Well, there are some rules. When you talk you have to follow some sort of rule in order to know that what you've said makes sense. And, when you think you follow some sort of pattern. Thinking isn't completely random.

B: Sure, there are "rules" in that there is something similar between things you say and whatever it is that makes them meaningful, like grammar or something. But, those aren't really "rules" that you follow, they're more like a way of describing the similarities we notice when we say that such-and-such is a meaningful statement.

A: See, there's that verbal knotting I've been talking about. Rather than straightening anything out, you've just tied a more elaborate noose with which to hang yourself.

B: But where else are we supposed to start? How do we know there is anything to straighten out if we don't have a bunch of knots before us?

A: I guess it's unavoidable. I don't like when things don't make sense right at the beginning. It makes me suspicious that whatever follows is going to be just as nonsensical as the starting point.

B: Well, if everything was clear from the beginning to the end then wouldn't that be just as suspicious? When was the last time anything made simple sense throughout? I'd bet that you'd start to suspect someone was lying to you if things were easy going for too long.

A: Simple things are always suspicious. They're either the type of thing which seems so obvious it goes without saying, or they are simple only because they're hiding something important and really complicated.

B: Simplicity always seems to come at a cost.

A: Ya, the cost of time. So, are you trying to say that before I can figure something out I have to expect there are going to be some complex knots that need to be untied, and that it takes time to make things simple?

B: I'm not sure what I'm saying. I don't think everything has to be complicated before it gets simpler. I just think that when doing anything that requires thought you have to start with a certain amount of patience because things are often harder at first and get easier as you start to know more.

A: Why is it so hard to be patient?

B: We all just want to know the answers, and can't be bothered in order to get them. It's like that marshmallow experiment they did with kids. They told them if they waited then they would get two marshmallows instead of the one they left in front of them. Some kids just ate the one that was right there, while the others waited to get two marshmallows.

A: That has nothing to do with what we're talking about. Some kids are just impatient, and just because some of the others waited doesn't mean they're patient. It might be that they are too afraid to not follow the rules.

B: All I was trying to say is that it's hard to be patient when you just want to reach out and grab any old marshmallow  that happens to pass by.

A: You're an old marshmallow.

B: Yep, and now leave me alone while I slather myself in chocolate and cuddle up between a pair of graham crackers.

A: I don't even know what we're talking about.

B: Neither do I.

5/21/15

Parts of Speech

The time
to be
good.

this is loss, the end

Stay back, you fool,
from this comes not.

You maddening force,
of nothing, nonsense.

Keep my worth, as,
it is, without you.

I'm old and over
this is loss, the end.

I see, I feel

I see the Earth:
salt and sand;
rock and flow;
meat and bone.

I feel the Earth:
joy and loss;
dream and horror;
want and love.

It keeps me going.

When you get older they always remind you to "keep touch with the world". What you don't realize is that they don't just mean calling friends to meet and play spades while you chat about the grandkids. You actually have to work at sorting through the muffled senses that connect you to the outside world.

Seeing becomes less accurate and clear. The crispness of things fades. Forms slowly merge together and it's harder to distinguish one thing from another. Even if your eyes worked as they once did your mind is apt to take its time processing the reduced flow.

It's harder to enjoy your food because taste and smell become muted. Television shows lack their luster: either you can't hear what they say or you can't see what they're doing. All these barriers build up, and if you're not willing to see them as a problem to solve it's likely you'll fade away with your senses.

I'm lucky my son drives me to the store every week. We get to talk about how he's doing, and more importantly, what amazing things his two daughters are doing at school. One is five, or six, and the other is in her teens. It's embarrassing, but I can't remember their names. I sit silent sometimes because I'm afraid I've already said what I just thought.

It's hard to talk to younger people about these things without making it seems sad. It's not that you are necessarily happy about losing the world you once knew, but you accept the change and live with it as best you can.

I had a friend, she passed about a month or so ago, and she filled her room with all sorts of knick knacks. I call her a friend because we ate together and would sit outside before lunch. We watched the workers and families come and go. I forgot her name already, but it's not sad, it's just the way things are now.

I thought about writing everything down, and I did for a while, but you quickly realize there's no way you can keep everything organized. My son got me a phone to put notes in, but it hasn't been on for a over a year. I tried to get an email but couldn't remember how to use it.

I used to worry about all that I was losing, but then I just stopped and started savoring whatever fragments of life I happened to experience. I saw some rabbits out my window this morning. They usually come by just as the sun gets up. I try to go outside everyday to feel the air. Sometimes, if it's cool and the wind is blowing a little I can remember being a girl on my parent's farm. I don't know what the one has to do with the other, but it's something that makes me happy.

I know I'm going to die eventually. Everyone here knows it, and we live with death every day. You're really sad at first, and you don't stop feeling sad, but you come to understand it as best you can.

Sleep is a dream, and so is being awake. That haze of life hangs over me everyday, but I hardly notice it anymore. I have my seat at the cafeteria table, and go out to it everyday. It's a pattern that I like. It keeps me going.