Being something

This is how we see:

a set of brackets, dark,

moving across wires in the sky

(that we placed there)

because of the angle of light

and it’s changing

– perhaps –

and perhaps it’s the change

and the angling,

and perhaps it’s involved with the light

Light, as a feather

Lee_Light Feather 2018
unfixed photographic print of a feather – gift from Summer Lee

How seeing depends… opacity, clarity… foggy horizons between tumultuous sea and sky…

Light, as a feather – the dawn in darkness, or the hoping carrying despair.

What is seen, then?  What fore- or back- grounds an image?  How?  In mist, in motion.  In a dream that waking brings.

In which direction, grounding?  And wherefore?  Lightness limning itself again, again, in midst of darker swells and slighter traces.

How seeing depends… on light, the eye, the stimmung – the stemming of mood – and graver swirls… beg-ins and sets-out from.  Within.  Without.  Finding curious concord.  Even when there’s barely there.  Either.

Deepens, depends, opens out, away, in deep ends, hollow holing, turbulent tunnels, seeing unseen, a groping for/in light where none.  Peering is something, as the closing of the eyes – telescopic blindfold.

Perhaps dawn is down, where despair is rising.  Hope precipitating beyond eithers, or… differences imperceptible save the seeing…

How seeing depends… and deepens with what is searched for, what wants, who opens,  what feels, within each where-when, becoming there-thens, seeing how.

It begins, then, all seeing, between.  Bounding back-forth in light and light and any weighted things, ever shifting seeing-sea and emptied sky, re-membering differences to seamlessness, with opaque clarity, as such your “I.”

Lee Letter 2018
Text included with photograph – Summer Lee 2018

Among the Leaves

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Suddenly I found myself among the leaves, diffuse as light, but darker.  Almost a shadow, if I’d found myself at all.

For it came of a simple moment in-between.  Between responding to this or fetching that.  Perhaps waiting for coffee to brew, or just breathing.  In cold sunlight.  In kitchen.  It had something to do with my daughter.  Or she was the first one I told.

“I’ve found myself,” I burst upstairs and explained, holding out my phone which had captured the image like communication.  “I’ve found myself, see?”

But no one quite did.  I was thereby forced to point it out.  Which is a lot more like making something up rather than discovering.  More like envisioning than recognition or taking notice.

Yet I can tell you I saw right through it in that gap.  Made out my identity in that fluster of sunrays and blockage.

An insubstantial sort of silhouette designated by a drove of other things – that “it” – that ephemeral, vacuous “me.”

In fact, the way I remember it, I was harried by flickering thoughts, responsibilities, and a mantled dose of tired, and it was only morning.  I’d backed up against the steely sink and weighted my palms, hoping my neck might loosen by letting it drop.  The floor there.

Something alerted me – a “honey?” or a child’s announcement from some other room – and so I swung and hoisted toward action.  My roving eyes sniffed at calendar and began steadying toward a list comprising my future, but instead.

Instead, a patterning of leaves translating immediately to a scatter-shot messaging of light, exposing some presence in its midst that was absorbing or otherwise deflecting.  Signifying, nonetheless.  A kind of tracing of a head, a photo-graph I guess, a contour drawing by our prominent star.  And if light could trace it, could scribble a quick sketch out of me, well then,

I’d guess I’d found myself among the leaves,

which went something like these pages.

N Filbert 2012

An Opinionated Review

Eat.  Pray.  Love.

 

On a wonderful jaunt to our public library yesterday, my wife spotted a movie based on a mega-bestselling memoir that she’d been curious to see since its release a couple of years ago.  We checked it out and viewed it last night in hopes of a light, relaxing fare to happy us toward slumber.

It was excruciating.  My first reaction was – can a person’s biography truly resemble such a cliché’d American self-realization mythology?  Basically a woman goes on a journey away from her responsibilities to others to “find” or “heal” herself, in the process (and apparently justifiably since it delivers her to a goal of peace, happiness, pleasure and love with a seasoning of spirituality) wrecking others’ lives and forgiving herself for it, ending in the arms of a handsome foreigner on a tropical island with some standard religious “truths” in tow.

Here are things I realized about myself:

I am suspicious of personal pleasure that causes others pain.

I am oh-so-glad and grateful that I grew up in a reserved Western culture with Continental philosophy and theologies at its roots.  I much prefer battling to wisdom and calm through the frenetic and anxiety-ridden vertigo of a convoluted mind ferociously doubting and investigating than through some “be here now” philosophies of higher unities and cosmic accord.  Rather interrogate now than “let go” and “let be.”  I am attached to the workings of our brains and our languages, pestering perception and scrutinizing sense experience with imaginative and skeptical rationales.

I radically doubt “gurus,” “prayer,” “saviors,” and other spiritual or “wholistic” practices of “balance” that accomplish “goals.”  Outcome-based anything feels totalitarian and programmatic and therefore facile to me, as if there were a form or behavior we might fit ourselves to that would lessen the struggle or suffering of “to be.”

The film’s story took a year’s time, replete with life-changing habits of mind and body and some claimed resultant growth.  As if wisdom came from Apple or McDonald’s.  The past was hardly processed, responsibilities released like thoughts during Zen, and no effort to apologize or repair any damage or hurts the main character had caused those close to her along the way (thank goodness no children were involved!).

It was the time-tested failure of the American Dream: do what you want to get yourself comfortable in your own skin (whatever beliefs, illusions and experiences that might seem to require) and everything will be alright in your world.

I simply don’t buy it.  And I won’t.  If we are socially constructed realities (and my point-of-view on the cosmos supports this) then final import is not in a self, but in a system.  Not toward results but a how of processing.  Not a personal calm or pleasantness but a social accord.

The film made me terrifically thankful for scrutiny and doubt, fervent self-questioning in light of surroundings, and the “wisdom of no escape.”  It just goes on.

For what it’s worth,

here lies a steaming pile of my opinions.

N Filbert 2012