Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Markers of Time

As Robert Frost once wrote, “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is never a thought to begin with.”

I recommend the following course of action for those, like you, who are just starting out, or who, like me, may be re-configuring midway through. Heed the words of Robert Frost. Start with a big fat lump in your throat. Start with a profound sense of wrong, a deep homesickness, a crazy lovesickness, and run with it. If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love. And don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can. Imagine immensities. Don’t compromise and don’t waste time. In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide that you want one. Start now. Not twenty years from now. Not thirty years from now. Not two weeks from now. Now.

The best thing about time passing is the privilege of running out of it, of watching the wave of mortality break over me and everyone I know. No more time, no more potential. The privilege of ruling things out. Finishing. Knowing I’m finished. And knowing time will go on without me. Look at me, dancing my little dance for a few moments against the background of eternity.

As her relationship to these markers of time changed, she became interested not in the “short tragic love stories” that had once bewitched her but in “the kind of love to which the person dedicates herself for so long, she no longer remembers quite how it began.” Eventually, she got married. Echoing Wendell Berry’s memorable meditation on marriage and freedom, she writes:
Marriage isn’t a fixed experience. It’s a continuous one. It changes form but is still always there, a rivulet under a frozen stream. Now, when I feel a break in the continuity of till death do us part, I think to myself, Get back in the river.

 If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.

 Cold River: A Survivor’s Story by Jozef Imrich Just in ...

Cold River: A Survivor’s Story is about man’s desire for freedom during a time when none existed.

Author Imrich describes the village in which he grew up with such emotion and sadness that the reader can hear the snow crunching beneath his expectant mother’s feet as she makes her way through the snow drifts. This story is fact, not fiction. When you are finished you will know what it is like to taste freedom for the first time. And perhaps feel the pain of its cost.

“Aches to read this. I have grown up on versions of this story -- they have molded who I am today. You bring much of it back -- and with great skill and power. May this story reach many, many.” -- The Smoking Poet

“Jozef Imrich has written the War and Peace of escapes. Havel tackled free will, Tolstoy the meaning of life, Imrich practiced what they preached... Citizen journalist’s job is like a baker's work -- his rolls are tasty as long as they're fresh; after two days they're stale; after a week, they're covered with mould and fit only to be thrown out.”

You can read more about Cold River: A Survivor’s Story by Jozef Imrich here andhere. The book can be ordered here. ◊

Sometimes we feel empty; we feel a vacuum, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause; it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect and hope for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty. The desire to understand ourselves and to understand life is a deep thirst. There’s also the deep thirst to be loved and to love. We are ready to love and be loved. It’s very natural. But because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. Sometimes we haven’t had the time to understand ourselves, yet we’ve already found the object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty. You want to find something, but you don’t know what to search for. In everyone there’s a continuous desire and expectation; deep inside, you still expect something better to happen. That is why you check your email many times a day!My ancestry had black skin not just lumps in their throats ...