We like to think our walls are so solid; sheet rock, even we call it, but these rocks have been pulverized into something that is not much more than sand or dehydrated breakfast cereal.
We are looking for more stable rocks, and some of us find best in the spectrum, the most solid to be the spinning of a turntable, in music, in movie soundtracks. Music is like a spinning turntable moving so fast it looks like it is not moving, and I linger in the feelings thinking I can keep them, and in a way I do, as the songs that I love come back to me surprisingly, at surprising times. Hard Rock Cafes, they closed the one where I lived, and put in a basketball stadium. Rock solid. Are rocks ever so?
Where I live now the rocks are famous. Blue Gneiss forms in very few places, and this is one of them. The geology escapes me, but I don’t have to look far to see it. It’s in the front yard, it’s in the back yard. Rocks, or to be more respectful, boulders live here, and in most yards up and down the street. They are unmoved, despite the suburban aesthetic, because even just the part we can see is about the size of a Ford F 150, smaller ones the size of a VW bug.
But rocks, like words, like persons, like everything really, are icebergs in form. The part we see is tiny in comparison to what lies hidden underneath. So many decisions we make upon the basis of what we can see, when in fact the part we can’t see is the most important. That’s very difficult for us as we try to navigate our lives, moving, often, too fast around all the rocks and boulders that seem fixed, but perhaps, under the ground are moving in ways we don’t fully understand. “Be kind to everyone,” goes the saying “we simply don’t know how hard they are working, what troubles torment them, and with which they wrestle, and how heavy the burden they carry is.” Tim O’Brien’s book, “The Things They Carried” comes to mind, as he detailed all the actual and virtual baggage even just 18-year-old soldiers carried in the terror and madness of war.
We always compare. “Real war.” “That war is over.” But there are real wars we are in, as we live and breathe, and wars are never over. I continue to read poems. Right now, the Ukrainian poets are the hardest to read, though to be fair I am sure there are some Russian soldier poets who match their excruciations. I feel obligated to take on more than I can chew, but don’t. Instead, I waited a couple of weeks, and read around their poems, and now I am ready for this jagged iceberg to reveal as much as I can fathom about experiences and events I will never understand. I must take a lick of the iceberg I can see. A human duty.
Although I can never know; for even poems are icebergs, not even to mention the poets that calve them, as they too drift in unerring currents, far beyond their massive icicles of verse. But I must know what I can, in order to honor the fact that I live in this world where icebergs are warring unconsciously, dully, numbly, scraping against each other as if by chipping off the surfaces of each other we could somehow come to a better understanding, or live in a fantastical hierarchy of one iceberg piled upon the other. Such a futile Jenga. These puzzle pieces weren’t made for each other, only themselves, and as I look out, and bow to the work and travails of others, I must instead look down, turn inside, and see what is below and within me.