On One Hand

September 26, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:07 pm

I could feel the season change about two days ago. The afternoons are still hot but the nights have a clean crispness and smell that evokes the memory of every other early autumn I’ve lived. In many cultures the end of the growing season marks the end of the whole year, but to me it feels like a beginning, simultaneously academic and romantic and intellectual and musical and deeply freeing. Each moment has an added weight, of strings of histories and potentialities to let me know that wherever I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be. As I pass through, the potentialities collapse and become perfect. It feels good to be alone. It feels good to be in groups. It feels good to be in pairs.

I’ve resurrected a personality that was latent for a while; I want to smoke cigarettes under the browning leaves of an oak tree, watching the clouds of my condensed breath appear in the darkness as thick and white, then fade into their skeletons – whispier curls of gray smoke. I want to talk about politics and religion and intelligent things, and read books with yellowed pages that smell of their age. I want to light candles and hold someone’s hand. I want to race outside after midnight to catch the first flakes of the year’s first snow. I’m thinking, this is sort of how I talk when I’m falling in love. But being beyond the constructions of “in love” or not, this is better described as the way I talk when I’m very, very grateful for where I am.

Photos from this summer feel like relics of an ancient past, bitersweetly near-forgoten. People I loved, people I thought I’d be close to forever seem like friends from elementary school, for whom I might only muse about what they’re doing now. If I look outside past midnight, I can see Orion in the eastern sky for the first time in seven months. The sight of it is utterly familiar, yet the thought of Sagittarius, which was at its most visible point two months ago in July, is a faded memory.

My great aunt died this summer at one hundred years old. It’s hard to imagine living this season as many times as there are days in summer. She was already old when I was born, and in the end was so crooked and frail that her amphibian body seemed to be part of the bed she lay on. Now she may as well have been gone for as long as she lived; I don’t think the dead have the same sense of time as we do. That’s where I am now, in a timeless place.

A month ago when I fell out of love with someone, I was choking to forget and to not forget what was once as dear to me as my own body. It’s bizarre thinking how fast I got to the point where I can reflect on it with the ease and comfort of a happy past. The more that the years accellerate, the more of a sense of urgency there is to find the things I’m looking for, but right now I hardly have an awareness of time. It seems to be written in the stars and predetermined events will take place exactly when they’re supposed to, or as if all events in the past and future are taking place at once.

This time a month ago I was doubting, but I’m sure again, regardless of what happens, that age twenty-two is one of the best years of my life.


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