Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"You May Then Wonder Where They Have Gone"

Memories are made from unedited moments; the coarse grit of wet sand and your mother's smile, running between father's legs as he laughed, a mile high and ready to swing you in his arms. You dig to China and mine smiles. You sleep in dreams of starfish and mermaids.
You enter adolescence. You are your own audience. You experience the world through a tentative lens. You know time is fleeting and forever. The days are immeasuarably long, and horribly short. Your mind is on fire and your feet are bound. You step into the future, one toe at a time, like a hot bath. The pain is exquisite.
I am reading Annie Dillard's An American Childhood. My beach book, quite appropriate. Here's what she told me today.
"You may then wonder where they have gone, those other dim dots that were you: you in the flesh swimming in a swift river, swinging a bat on the first pitch, opening a footlocker with a screwdriver, inking and painting clowns on celluloid, stepping out of a revolving door into the swift crowd on a sidewalk, being kissed and kissed until your brain grew smooth, stepping out of the cold woods into a warm field full of crows, or lying awake in bed aware of your legs amd suddenly aware of it all, that ceiling above you was under the sky-in what country, what town?"
"You may wonder, that is, as I sometimes wonder privately, but it doesn't matter. For it is not you or I that is important, neither what sort we might be nor how we came to be where we are. What is important is anyone's coming awake and discovering a place, finding in full orbit a spinning globe one can lean over, catch and jump on. What is important is the moment of opening a life and feeling it touch-with an electric hiss and cry-this speckled mineral sphere, our present world."
Who could say it better?

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