First of all, let me apologize for not being very consistent or active here the past week or two. And then apologize for the following length (somehow I felt it was okay, given the silence caused by entanglements of necessity and sustenance)…
If I were a mountain. This was my first thought, while reflecting on you, me, our children, planets and plants, birth, death, brains and bodies and societies of persons, nations, sciences and myths, plus at least 10,000 other things. The effort to consider everything – a total picture – my limited whole with as many details as possible. As if meanings were stars and knowledge all the darkness around them.
Taking time. If I conjure everything I know – time-saving habits and fixes, sundry scientific theories, the feel of my children’s hair, the path of a bee, each lip that’s found its way against mine, every person, voice, place I remember in part, pancake recipes, varieties of soil I’ve walked over, tasted, smelled, languages living and dead…don’t worry, I won’t list 10,000 things and their changing nuances…
What is common for me, when not immediately struggling to make ends meet up, are these attempts at collocating and corroborating my experiences and knowledge to date…and it inevitably leads to profound sensations of brevity and minisculity (?).
If what I have experienced, lived-through and wended into my body and brain represented stars (those sometimes recognizable flickering points of light)…
…all I have not heard of, thought, experienced, lived-through or felt
would be represented by the gargantuan dark – the endless, perhaps infinite, space.
My 43 years. Books I have read, courses taken, jobs held, skills learned, places inhabited and endured. Women I’ve loved, children I’ve borne and partially raised, persons I’ve met, objects and activities engaged and observed, skies, senses, stuff.
Pretend you are space.
A space that is full, perhaps something akin to our idea of atom. Imagine your space, of space, in space. In other words – your little flexible dynamic space is both made of space, contained in space, occupying and participating in space and spaces and shares its participatory space(s) with 10,000…10,000,000,000,000…uncountable space-forms and forms of space…
I, atom. Barely a point in space-time, hardly formally recognizable, and from what angle or distance? Limited space-form through limited space-times. A flexible, dynamic, ever-morphing relatively microscopic or enormous form-ish space-ish thingy.
An atom bounding, ricocheting, trembling and changing throughout a little universe…a variable assemblage of atom-like moments transforming in particular ways of a sort addicted to accounting for and measuring itself and its surroundings (a way of distinguishing presence in these manners of matters).
Forms and Objects
If I were a mountain (that is, in relation to “you”) I’d likely be quieter, perhaps slower, present and patient – you might reference or measure yourself by me (I was thinking). I might want less. Not have the same desires and activities formally compressed into 70-80 “years…”
And then if you were a sky full of stars or dawn, an enormous canvas of clouds and colors, ubiquitous…and there was that mountain…
So very small, so very brief: Me.
Couple all of that to the profound affects felt (in and on me) by other malleable collectives of atoms we refer to as “us” – plus mountains, valleys, rivers and seas, weather, events, animals, places and things: at our scale, and between ever-so-many scales, we have significant import and effect, albeit almost nothing at all viewed fractionally and/or noticeably at minimally larger scales (I suppose that could be argued…)
Anyway, we exist for ourselves primarily at our own shared scale, imagining (or inventing) other scales in order that we might examine ourselves, potentially compare or evaluate…us.
But if I were a mountain…how different would our relation be? I imagine it this way: You in your human scale, and me as mountain. In rain, ages, erosion and accretion, growing trees and dropping boulders…and you, briefly, tramping across me, perhaps admiring or photographing me, resting on me, using me as a direction or a landmark – always there, there, there. Other things, people, events, experiences of your immediate scale rise and fall, come and go, attach and detach, begin and end, flux and alter…
You as sky to me, and I – mountain.
This thinking – that it might help me somehow to imagine life at other scales… Perhaps this is why…
…what might we mean at another scale? between scales? Not simply as we are to ourselves, as we experience or live-through our brief experiences as space-forms in space-times, but from alternate frames and scalar perspectives?
Imagine…from the view of our constituent elements and systems…over large ranges of processes (“history,” “time”) or briefer ones (Mayfly, ant, daisy)…from tectonic or astronomical lenses…where we can’t even register as an entity, object or form…and by the time whatever activity we mustered – energy or noise we emitted in our being reached a distant planet or star we’d have been gone for thousands and thousands of our decades?!
As if, even at our scale, we are molecules shaking in a beaker. Vibrating, jostling one another, coming together, splitting apart, sometimes bonding, sometimes break – but most often simply bouncing to and fro. Jiggling. Adapting and adjusting.
Mountain. Sky. Metaphors of import.
10,000 words on 10,000,000,000,000…things (or just the one)
“Ain’t it like most people? I’m no different.
We love to talk on things we don’t know about.”