When you walk, it is wonderful, because you can go any which way you like.
Observe the girl: (nearly) always a white dress, hand coffee-clutching.
I am walking and I am picking a theme for my thoughts today -- and in this moment I choose to revisit an old, favorite tangent:
I want to know what people do with all the stuff in their heads. All that stuff that runs into the sides of the brain, runs into each other.
(When I think about my brain, I think of this scene: a pen of glittering, kaleidoscopic bumper cars, all of them caroming to the swell of some syrupy carnival overture. See them whoosh and whack and thump and bump and butt each other. See the glorious chaos!)
The scene steals me for a moment --
until I come back down.
I float like a feather to the street. See, I am back now,
and I want to know this:
Where do people stow their half-finished thoughts, in what kind of cubby, what shape is it, how large, how far back does it go? Why did she pick those shoes, what does he think love is, are they wondering if they turned off the stove or locked the door, what do you want more than anything else?
This is my favorite question to ask the people I know. More than the answer, even, I like to hear that pause before it -- and what they stick in that breathing space. Some space-filling sound --an uhm or an or an er or a hum -- a hesitation.
(And we already know -- I am a lover of lacunas, of gaps, and missing things, of in-betweens.)
And I like to ask them later, again -- a year later, or two or three.
I like to hear the answer shift -- the syllables start to collide, commingle, the recognition of deja vu, the epiphany of knowing they have been here before. Memory is, to me, the greater epiphany than new starts. I listen for this. There is always a stutter --
then the breath, and release.
And I like to hear what's absent now.
I like eschewing old, worn clothes. The dreams I don't want anymore are a pile of heaped-up clothing. Freshly laundered, but not folded. I see the arms of the blouses wrapped in each other, buttons butting into other garments' button holes. They were good and useful things. These former shapes of self that lay before me. But I've outgrown the sweaters, the skirts skim too high, things don't hang right now -- they no longer fit. My shape has changed, irrevocably.
(But what do you do with all that stuff?)
I am a clinger-to, a pack-rat. In this small space, there are hidden heaps of things I no longer want or need. But then when I hold them, consider them -- the dessert plate, the speckled mug, the loafer, the pile of unused scrap fabric -- I stir up some latent affection for them.
I put things on the shelf and let them breathe, become, be. And then I simply cannot do it. Cannot pack them away. Cannot send things off that left along time ago...
(of their own accord, of mine, of someone else's?)
Can you imagine if the stars never burnt out? We think of sadness in celestial death. But a star requires a backdrop of black.
To always see the potential in everything. I have learned, this is as equally a point of grace as it is the burden of my soul.
(That is to say, of my self.)
You cannot let a little dream (or any thing) die when it can be tweaked just a bit to make work, when it can stand up, and sit down, when it moves and grows on its own. Or, when you've put in a part of your heart, or your hours -- and then to find, after all, you don't really want it...
(And what do you do with all that stuff?)
And so, yes, when you walk, it is wonderful, because you can go any which way you like.
And your walk need not be predicated by your previous ones -- or even by your preference at the start of the walk because that too, can change. And very likely it will.
But, this too, is the way I have lived and live. Meandering, the criss-crossing the toes type, a backtracker, cul-de-sac-circler, circumnavigator.
And I prefer these leisurely forays to the practical, destination-bound ones -- the type where one places one foot before the other, pulls the whole body from one sidewalk square to the next and on. Square-to-square is a lovely way to live for some, but then there are those who live to leap, who like the in-betweens, like to see the cracks between the sidewalk blur beneath their dancing feet.