Solipsism – 4

There is something to be said about writing, at least as far as I am concerned.  I have been successful in increasing the number of hours I devote to sleep each day, over the last three days.  This is a good way to throw down some sandbags and…take flight? Not yet.  Not quite yet.  We are still missing a target destination and perspective.

In other news, and in the vein of feeling heartsick about leeching any negativity out there through inconsequential thought meanders – tragedy struck very close to home today.

We live a few miles away from Budd Lake in New Jersey.  It has always been like our very own Lake Geneva.  Its beaches are a popular community destination in the summer time and in the winter people use its frozen surface for ice skating or ice fishing.  Our winters in New Jersey are not as harsh as they are in other parts of the country.  However, we do get a couple of weeks of deep freeze, never more.

This past weekend we were driving by the lake and, for Anoushka’s benefit, I pointed toward the lake, at some sailboats.   I couldn’t stare left too long. I was driving.  But she spotted several people out on the ice, walking.  We remarked at how confused we were that people could sail and skate in the same lake, at the same time.  Obviously some parts of the lake were frozen solid, some were not.

Last night we heard the news about two teenagers who had walked out on the lake over the weekend, about a 100 feet in, at 6:00 pm, when the world here is already pitch black, with intentions of ice fishing.  They never came back.  The body of one of them has been found by the divers, the other boy is still missing.  State police divers are doing their best and working around the clock to find him.

These boys were alive last week, this week their parents, their friends, their family are wondering how they will ever go on.  Some people heard them screaming for help, saying they didn’t want to die, but in the darkness none of them could pinpoint the exact location of the calls.  They are shaken, we all are.  But they heard the screams and couldn’t do a thing. There is no one to blame.

The difference between being here and not is just that one instant that was forever out of our grasp.

I’ve lived long enough by now to take note of people being there – living, breathing, laughing, expressing opinions, making plans, lamenting failed plans, envying others, sharing their successes, their lives, their loves through social media or through poetry scribbled on ceiling fans and walls and journals – one moment and gone the next, leaving in their wake all these things that they will never know about, severed from everything that was about to happen after that one instant that was out of our grasps.  The devastated people they leave behind, who hug each other around wreaths being laid and candles being lit, asking, “Why him? Why her? Why not me?” are the only people who feel death going about its sterile business, affecting only the living.

This moment is the only one that matters.  The past is important but irrelevant despite the best efforts of our minds trying to convince us it matters more than it does.  It creeps around like ivy, latching on wherever it can find purchase.

The future is an unknown abyss.  We only know this moment.  We won’t even be the same persons tomorrow that we are in this moment.  Despite this we spend our lives in the long and ominous shadows of memories taunting us with scars of abandoned dreams and abandoned plans, demanding a core consistency from all future endeavors, acting as the all-important arbiters of success or failure, wielding the choice and consequence baton, as we labor on enslaved.

And yet, what would we be without our memories, the single thing that stitches us together and keeps our changing, morphing, evolving selves strung together in an arrangement that passes for the face we present to the world.

Perhaps the right thing to do then is to reject these insidious demands of core consistency from our memories and shake things up a bit, live a little, view ourselves and present ourselves to the world as someone who acknowledges the past, takes what lessons it brings and uses these lessons as catalysts for our next iteration or next avatar.  Pearl necklaces are boring, I’d rather be a collection of carnelian, chalcedony, coral, turquoise and jasper. Why ever not?

Certainly something to think about.

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