Contemplating Garden Jewels
This morning I made my way back to the exercycle. The last few days of Halloween Chimp wrangling was so intense that I needed every bit of energy. My back was sore, my arms were aching and I just couldn’t spend an extra calorie.
It felt good to get back to regular exercise. I’d only missed a couple of days. What I’ve missed more in the last few months is a slower day.
Company, Frank taking classes, my big push to get some hats in my Etsy shop and the ongoing chimp projects has kept me from contemplation.
I have not found myself enjoying the vegetable garden as intensely as I did last year.
Astride the exercycle, my eyes were fixed on the cucumber plant, locked on the curling tendrils and the fat leaves, but I wasn’t seeing it completely.
I studied the pleasant shape of the little yellow flowers, the green rough expanse of each leaf, the slightly turned up edges and then I saw them. Little round crystal clear drops.
Morning dew hung on the leaf edges, little liquid ornaments, and they looked beautiful.
I had to record them and my moment of clarity.
I needed to add them to a head already filled with images. Each day is loaded with visual input.
Each night the brain syncs the new information into place, adding to the stores of images already cataloged. From this library we create an approximation of past experience that we call memory.
I have heard that memory is very imprecise, that each time we review a particular moment of the past we rewrite it ever so slightly. The more we recall a memory the farther away we get from the actual experience.
I’m sure I heard most of these memory-related things on Radio Lab (I’m listening to Radio Lab right now. The topic is death). Without memory we cannot make meaning.
From what I can recall life is good.
I am always amazed at the eb and flow of activity that makes up a day, a week, a month. It drifts, it pushes, it spins so quickly around a curve. I imagine a mini-me riding on a leaf and looking back at the starting point. It fades as I move on and soon is out of sight.
I love the unpredictability of this glide. I now find it funny that I spent so much time expecting things to be static, expecting that things would flatten out into a smooth steady rhythm.
Is is because of the many stories we collect? The books we read, the films we digest, TV and radio shows that we love all present us with a concise, cohesive, recognizable structure.
“Here’s a story ’bout a man named Brady . . .”
We love these chunks of easily digestible meaning. Piled one upon the other, over the years, we create ourselves with their help. They might be microcosmic origin stories. We might create each dayfrom these building blocks.
Here’s what happened. Beginning, middle, end. The heroes journey. Boy meets girl . . .
I have tried to fit the erratic flow of my life into any number of neat packages and despite my ability at spatial reasoning, they seldom fit snugly for long.
Humans crave meaning, specificity, that elusive thing we call truth, and yet, if one is honest, one must admit we only got a fleeting glimpse of it, a ghostly shadow that we worked over in our mind until it had some some convincing heft. Really, we were moving too swiftly in the current of life to get a good look at it.