Monday, April 21, 2008

Reflections of an old(er) man

My absence from the blogosphere is easy to account for: on Tuesday I aged a few decades when my back went out. The list of "no longer ables" is a mile long and even as I write now I'm lying flat, regretting the purchase of my heavy laptop, which presses hard against my mid-riff. Like the aged, I have had much time to reflect and read. I read The Children of Hurin, The Guardian Weekend, some academic articles, and made some good progress through Oryx and Crake, a wonderfully written social commentary; however, it's the time for reflection I've really treasured. My nine year-old son took up the slack and unloaded the truck full of compost, which had mocked my condition in its untouched state in the driveway, carefully spreading it around the plants in the garden. I've often been the blessed recipient of his outside-of-school work ethic, such as a divine breakfast-in-bed served upon a fully furnished platter after a lie-in. My laid-out state caused my four year-old daughter much consternation and she would frequently check on me and pat my arm or kiss my cheek; then there's the selfless labour of my wife, all the meals, work and cleaning.

Receiving blessing amidst this pain got me to thinking about my interactions with others. My sub-conscious must have been doing the same because before I fell asleep the other night I had a vision of a tumbleweed in constant (and random) motion bumping into a wide circle of stationary objects. In my lucid state I took the tumbleweed to be me and the pillars, those I interacted with. The picture seemed to benefit me solely, so a top, more specifically a hard, pointed, and long-spinning Bey-Blade (I can't believe they once cost $15) might be more appropriate: the blades could actually take out chunks to represent what I took from others, the borrowings from their soul. Of course, all this imagery is rooted in my self-focused condition, but it got me to thinking nonetheless. In the same way that a whirling dervish can signify divine communication, so can water molecules represent human interaction: molecules mixing amidst eddies appear like humans moving through experiences. To get a sense of what I mean watch this:

Each person dancing and sharing yet also alone, swimming yet pushed by the currents. Are we propelled through life by the force emitted by the movement from withdrawing to socializing, taking to serving? Or some other force? Who knows? But at this time I especially enjoy the weightless feeling of being around family and good friends. Keep swimming.

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