10 October 2009
The sun disappeared behind, then reappeared from, clouds that streamed across a sky in which the gray of this morning's rain turned almost instantaneously into the crisp blue of autumn, then took on, almost as quickly, the first orange tinges of a sun ready to set.
Only the wind moved faster than that sky. And it was this day's only constant.
It was the classic autumn wind, a prelude to the autumn dusk. Perhaps I will remember this day in another year, as that wind is the brush and the dusk is the paint of recollection.
Nothing makes me feel more strongly that a day has passed and I am another day older--though, perhaps, richer in spirit--than having moved through and with that wind and arrived at that autumn dusk.
So why is it such a struggle for me to find the language for this day, for this feeling I now have? Perhaps it is because none of what I have experienced today--in fact, for some time now--is a repetition of a recollection. What I no longer experience is what I now call the Eternal Present: when every moment is simply a replay of one that came before rather than a segment of a progression.
People who live in the Eternal Present, of course, do not call it that. If they're aware of their situation at all, they might describe their days and lives as a cycle of "same shit, different day." Or "same shit, different year." A Buddhist might call it, "same shit, different lifetime." Then again, I don't think a Buddhist would say that because, it seems to me, that a Buddhist wouldn't think that way.
That's because "being in the moment"--which every Buddhist I know talks about--seems, at least to me, to be the exact opposite of The Eternal Present. Being in the moment means, as I understand it, being present and accountable for whatever is in your life at the moment. On the other hand, adherence to The Eternal Present prevents people from being present in the moment--which is to say their own lives-- for it implies that things will be as they have been, whether or not people do anything differently.
This day's sky and wind and sun were parts of a moment that is one of a train of many others that are different, in almost imperceptibly subtle ways, from the ones that preceded and the ones that will follow it. They may be conduits of memory, and they may become memories for me. But that doesn't mean that they will dictate what I will experience the next time I see the wind turning moving through an autumn day into the dusk.
Tonight my memory is of the beauty of that sky and the way the sun reflected in my eyes and the wind rippled against my skin.They are wonderful, but tomorrow I will wake to something different, even if it is a reflection of the same sun and an echo of the same wind in the same sky.