23 September 2012

Boundary Conditions (Sunday Meditation #21)

September 22nd, 2012. 7:31 PM. On the front patio, in the company of a dog. Serenaded by crickets, wind and faint barks from a few yard over. It is reflection.

Well. I see that it has been almost a week since I have administered the purge to my brain. There is no surprise here, but there is a tinge of melancholy. To write sometimes to me is to live. It is to feel. Feel in ways I occasionally have difficulty in allowing myself to experience, or perhaps, understand is the better term. The page or the screen, like the camera lens, affords me a shield and a filter on the world. It allows the parsing of what often seems unparsable. 

I find I am in a bit of a fugue state. Weariness, of the mind and the heart, is blurring my edges and smearing me over the landscape of my existence. Four solid days of work have shored me up and worn me out. This has kept me from the page, from the keyboard. Not for lack of ideas, mind you; I've had quite many. The lack of...ambition? desire? energy? has forestalled my getting them out of my head.

I am bored, fed up with current events, with politics, yet those things have been the fuel for the fires of my mind in overdrive. There has been much to consider, much to say, but two things have (wisely) reeled me in: a desire to free my mind from the attachments of righteous anger, and a loss of appetite for 'pig wrestling' in the social sphere. If I may crib from The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy in "Music and Politics":
If ever I would stop thinking about music and politics
I might be able to listen in silence to your concerns
Rather than hearing everything as an accusation
Or an indictment against me
That sort of describes my state of mind since the beginning of September. My attachments to certain beliefs and states of being had begun to mislead me, down a path of anxiety and negative emotions. And when I say 'current events' I include events not only in the world external to my life, but the one internal to it. Two events in particular have become signal bells in the cluttered temple of my mind.

The first was my visit back east for a long weekend with my daughter. The second was an evening stroll through an arts fair in my new, nearby, adopted hometown of Kansas City. Both made me rejoice, admire and celebrate. Both made me near to weep in humility and inadequacy. It was not until my afternoon break today that I had an inkling of why.

First thing: My daughter is beautiful, smart and luminous. She tests me, pushes me, exalts me. All that without guile or pretense or even true self-awareness. She is a mirror to my soul. It is one I gaze into frequently, when we are together and when apart. In that reflection I see the radiant joy and vampiric doubts that are peculiar to my fatherhood. The total of things I know about being a father is far outweighed by the total of things I don't know about being a father. On this last visit I wondered how I could be so lucky to have her as my daughter, and I hoped that someday she might think herself lucky that I am her dad.

Second thing: I have finally admitted to myself that perhaps, after all, I do have a modicum of skill and talent when it comes to photography. This led me to spend an evening, in good company, strolling amongst the light and sound and creative outpouring that was my first Plaza Art Fair in KCMO. So much wonder, so much beauty, so much expression of the creative urge. My encounters with two photographers induced the same exaltation and humiliation. Both had prints of photos I wish I had taken, from an artistic and a technical perspective. Both demonstrated to me that I have so much to learn about photography. I left the art fair in a slight brown study, which I hadn't quite left this morning.

So it was I found myself on break, leaning back on a bench, swaddled in shade with my head thrown back. I felt myself falling upward, pressured into a state of elastic resistance by the realities of myself and my circumstances. My daughter, those photographers, have shown me I am hemmed in by the knowledge I possess and the knowledge I wish to possess.  

I stared up between the gold-tinged leaves overhead, reveling in the electric blue sky tinged with its dreams of the coming fall. Thus was I illuminated: let go of the fear, embrace the unknown, and step through the boundary conditions of my soul.


  1. You cut yourself too deep. What did I say when I saw the picture of the crumbling house against that stormy sky? I didn't say,"Isn't that aqesome?". I said,"That looks like something you would take."

  2. I keep this little note on my fridge, right at eye level so I can't miss it, and will be reminded every day:

    "Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers"

  3. @terlee: I may copy that, and do the same.

  4. I was born in KCMO. Been back a couple times. Lovely town.

    As for the fatherhood thing? Cool, eh?

  5. @tysdaddy: Yes it is, I'm really enjoying KC. And the fatherhood thing is amazeballs!


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...