It is interesting to note that we never fully leave our past behind—those seminal events linger in grey matter spaces that seem to open up every once and a while and present themselves for minor reviews or introspection.
This morning, for instance, is a blend of present and past realities that seemingly are unrelated except for my minds eye making connections that I am hard pressed to understand and or process.
A long, cold, wet, spring in the mountains of North Carolina has overnight morphed into summer a few weeks before the calendar would tell us it is true. Along with this, I have been trying diligently for several weeks to get my garden in—often using a space of only a few hours to get the next thing done so that when the next opportunity would arise, I could take advantage of it. Plants I bought on the first of May only found their way into the soil yesterday and I had to stagger planting corn and potatoes with beans and broccoli.
However, the garden is almost fully planted and I can now move on to other chores such as weeding and fertilizing it so that the fruits of my labor can be realized.
As I began this thought process a few hours ago I was reminded of two states of being that I have contemplated many times in the past. Sometimes they seem to overlap and sometimes they seem to be mutually exclusive. One state is the writer observing the world and penning his or her thoughts about the process of living—the other is the state of an individual living it on a day by day sort of way.
There is a part of me that takes great joy in observing and making poetic connections about the world that I inhabit. This part is often frustrated by the very fact of having to work for a living and them spending much of my spare time fitting in other necessary activities such as working the garden, mowing the lawn, making time to exercise and taking part in marriage and extended family activities.
I had a friend back in the day who was a writer. We hung out for a period of time and enjoyed one another’s company. We philosophied and observed, drank beer, ate burgers and took walks. Then he fell in love with a girl that we both knew. During this very brief period, when he was not with her, he was with me and often said that it was a shame that the only way he could experience what was happening in his life was to write it down. I don’t believe at the time I understood what he was trying to communicate by telling me that.
What I do remember is that his girl friend and I got closer and closer and soon he and I were not friends and I was having the summertime of my life (up to that point). What is weird is I really don’t remember how all that happened or that I was even aware of the fact that my actions might deep six our relationship. I guess I was blinded by living in the moment and not giving a lot of thought to what all that meant. Perhaps I was intoxicated by love and not really able to make rational decisions.
Whatever the reason I thought of this today, the tension between being a part of the moment or experiencing the moment as an observer in order to write about it later and live it more or less vicariously at that point is still something I think about every once in awhile. I guess memories are created either way. I have a lot of pictures left from family events that I don’t appear in because I was the one “preserving” those moments. At some point, the camera was like a rope around my neck that I finally quit carrying because I was always looking for a “shot”. Now with 6 to 8 megapixel cellphone cameras, it is an either or not situation that can be relatively stress-free and you can be in both worlds at the same time.
I guess it all comes down to this: if I wanted to write more I would certainly make time for it and perhaps someday, after my gardening years are past and the grandkids are all grownup, I will carve out some reflective time and really write the next great american novel.
In the meantime, life is what it is and I am going to enjoy the ride. How about you?