I have been sitting for a long time. I haven’t written anything, or at least shared much, for that long time. I have grown, moved, changed, thought, shifted. Now I am somewhere else. Now I want to write. But not about this place. About what I have learned, how I have changed, what I have been thinking about. If you care to read, I am grateful, this is more about me than others, but writing helps me to shape my thoughts more clearly in my mind. Sharing it helps those in my life to know me better and understand how I grow and move.
I have 53 tabs open on my computer. All things to read. To look at. People to write back to. Things I want to know more about. My computer crashes, I lose them all and am angry, then relieved.
We talk about anxiety. Anxiety about the future, about the climate, about money, about politics, about war, about looking stupid, about writing the right thing, about pandemics. Things seem to be going backwards. For the first time in a long time, things seem to be sliding off. The centre cannot hold seems ever more present in our lives. I read about how to have less, how to stay off the screen, how to read more, how to not always have the proverbial thumb scroll, the endless intake of information that gives us everything and nothing at the same time.
Negin first introduced me to Yeats, I had heard the name but never really read him. I keep hoping The Second Coming will become less relevant, but it only seems to be growing.
Read it out loud.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The middle is coming undone. This is not normal. The falcon is lost.
We have moved beyond our souls as societies, maybe because science hasn’t caught up yet, it is coming closer. We have had ideas of connectedness for so much longer, this notion of a Spiritus Mundi, something that we can’t grasp that connects us all, we know it is there, we are somehow always searching for it.
It feels like the foot has been on the accelerator since the presidential election. Like the world is in the hand of a whirling dervish. Stagnant, static, still, and simultaneously spinning as fast as the laws of physics will allow. Like we are all driving towards a cliff on the horizon, and are arguing about who gets to sit in the front seat.
An aside - I think I should buy a typewriter. No more syncing, passwords, or logins! Copy and paste is a bit tougher though. I don't have any glue.
I had to lookup what a gyre was, I like the idea. Yates saw our lives as many interconnected gyres with the tip of the first reaching the base of the next. Hidden
beyond the world we experience, turning twisting into each other shifting from one stage to the next as we ride along with them, while we twist and turn and, improve? The world shifting between chaos and order, between stillness and speed, all the while we tumble along through.
I have been lucky in my life to get glimpses of the gyres, just for an instant. To take a breath at just the right moment, to look up, or behind me at the perfect time or to catch a look, a smile, or a sigh, that tells me something has shifted. To witness myself, those around me, or the worlds I have found myself in, revolve from one gyre to the next. Maybe this is where every cultures fascination with birth and death springs from, when we are present for either, we feel the shifts deep down from one gyre to another, we know there is no going back.
I read the news all the time, I can’t help it, I try to read from people that are not like me, people that see the world differently, people whose experiences I do not know. I used to sit after the generator was shut off and write, just me and my computer, no outside world, no more tabs, no more messages. No internet seems like a blessing at times.
I have become an uncle, worn many hats I did not expect to wear, and journeyed, both inside and out, with a partner who holds up half the world. I think about patriarchy, gender, reconciliation, whiteness, white supremacy, privilege, structural racism, and power structures. I have learned. I have been taught. I have been annoying.
I have stopped sharing, been appalled at the world. Cried.
We were not quarantined when I started writing this, no one was. Now we sit, wait, watch, write, and wash our hands. We have realized how stupid this world of ours truly is. How it doesn't matter what divine entity floating around us you believe in, how big your economy is, how many boats full of refugees you can sink, or how hard you can punch. We are all layers of skin wrapped around a skeleton, holding up a brain, floating around this stupid world.
And god do I worry about all the floating brains I know. Oh! god! Still there somewhere in me, removing the veil is the best explanation I have found thus far, but that is for another day.
I still like the sound of the saxophone. Maybe John Coltrane was a prophet.
I still like to believe I have hope. Hope that this chaos will make us realize that humans running away from a horror out of their control should never be turned away, that we can’t hide from things that affect the entire planet, that measures we thought were impossible for the most vulnerable in our societies are in fact very possible, and that budgets for healing can be bigger than budgets for bombing.
For now, the world is quieting. Maybe in this silence the falcon will again be able to hear the falconer, and find its way back.
Or maybe, through the stillness, we will realize the centre dissolved a long time ago, the falcon is not lost, but gone, and we are standing in an empty field, searching the skies for a glimmer of hope.
But surely that can't be the case. I’m an optimist.
An optimist standing in an empty field.