Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Those who (have) transformed
It's grandpa's beanie. I put it on this morning because it was cold. And then I thought of him...
Years ago when I was about 14 years old, I was preparing to take a trip with my uncle and cousins to the Grand Canyon. He told me it would be a wonderful trip and that I should write down my memories, my experiences. He gave me a note book. I had never kept a journal before. I took the book but really didn't put much down in it. I didn't know how to translate my experiences and thoughts into language that another could read and understand.
At the end of the trip there were some notes in there, dates, places and most likely some doodles. I always doodled then as I do to this day. I didn't realize until much later that in each of my doodles were encapsulated the experience I was living through in that moment. I can look at a doodle or sketch and recall entire volumes of what was going on in that moment, people, faces, images, words, pages of books, conversations, feelings, etc. Some people use mnemonic devices, I used drawings; my own language of hieroglyphs.
Some time after that trip, I started to try and keep a journal. It was strange and difficult at first – this thing with language. Being a perfectionist, it was hard at first to write down the perfect thought because I viewed the journal as something special, almost sacred so each sentence had to be perfect, as if what if someone read it one day? I got over that eventually.
26 years later, I still keep journals and try to record things. Well not so much things or events, there are better ways of recording those. I try to record the events and emotions that go on inside my mind, my heart. The funny moments, the happy moments, the anger, frustration, disappointment and so often, the heartbreaks.
This journey, process, commitment has led me to places in the world and in the cities of my interior that I could not have imagined. Uncertainty has been the only constant, I have learned that surprise is independent of good or evil, happiness or sadness. Uncertainty has become my friend because no matter how sure something is, our surity in the very thing we have faith in that it won't change is very likely to be the thing that unravels us like a hemp cord overburdened in an artic storm.
Every moment in my life I am reminded of these simple lessons.
It is heartening, poignant, sweet and sometimes bitter that the gentle words of an old man who has now left this physical world still vibrates in me like the hum of my arteries pumping blood through my tissues. I am reminded that life is not made up of grandeur but of meekness and little details that often reside in corners out of our line of sight or in partial shadow. I am reminded that this universe we live in is made up of astronomically tiny pieces of sometimes matter that change in the very event of us trying to observe them.
I think grandpa too has transformed into those little Quantum packets and he is out there in the universe exploring the stars. No doubt he is mapping everything, but that is another story...