My moment of impatience lends far. If impatience is a sea, mine is like a sea on Mars, or the moon. Wondrous, because as a child, my imagination made these seas real seas, knowing full well they lacked water. What creatures swam towards the coasts on the moon? What stood in the stead of water, a ghost that was not even an atmosphere, and yet, it fired my imagination to think that there are other kinds of seas, seas we can’t see, but they are no less powerful or magnificent.
Impatience is a sea to me, very much like the Delaware Bay that fronts the land only 2 miles to my East. This water is dark in a way that the seas of the moon are dark. There is a lot of buried history here, but the water is mute, as if its grey color were a sound of all the sounds that are silenced within it. I stare at it, but don’t begin to fathom what that history is. I can guess all the toxic waste has transformed it into a lunar sea, but there’s something else. I can’t put my finger on it. My book de jour, “Islands of Abandonment” by Cal Fln speaks to all the places we have wracked with ruin: landfills; military sites long uninhabited; the Prime Exemplar of Chernobyl. There are so many of them, and this Delaware Bay must be one of them. This Delaware Bay we have changed forever; and yet it will take everything we have put into it over long patient geological time, and transform it into something it fashions to be more like itself, even though our marks will remain, like scars, or tattoos. This bay, river, estuary, has lessons for me I see as obstacles, and of course, yes, that word obstacle is an obstacle.
If I went down the bay far enough, I would see minnows, or something like them, though they be few and far between. This lesson: Sometimes we must journey long for even little fish.
My ego, the great obstacle, rather fancies large blue marlin as blue as a jewel, with a needle-beak sharper than a heron’s, mounted on blonde expensive well sanded varnished wood on the wall; where I could admire my catch, and say, say, like Hemingway: this life has been worth it.
It is an obstacle to rely on the wisdom of others; Hemingway ended up killing himself, although who am I say to say, I might take the same course, given the same diagnosis as he or others I know who wanted to go out on their own terms, and did.
All this strikes me, of course, as impatience, trying to get at mysteries that are better left as such. But I can’t help it; at the core of me is some relentless being who wants simply and completely to understand. That is a big word, “understand” and resting in impatience, I have often wanted to understand things that aren’t cogent to next steps.
Fortunately, my next steps have led me here, to my little garden variety of spiritual practices of which, one, is this writing. A kind of graffiti on the walls of this city of communication. I hope a city of light. Graffiti by a simple self who has spent much of life walking the train tracks and train yards, where such art is so common. So overwhelmingly common, that it has forced it’s way into a weary acceptability. I don’t know the codes. I don’t know these artists, and yet want to understand.
The closest I come is another kind of graffiti: reading the poets who are so graceful, and patient to be willing to hold their breaths; walk the seas of the Moon and Mars, and tell me, even if I am off track, that I am on the right body of waterless water. Even that word lost, is lost. And so, the obstacles are part and parcel of this great sea of exploration, which I sometimes call an obstacle, because I don’t see the conventional forms of water here…but like the metaphor that “dark matter” is, there must be intangible forms of liquid bearing me along. Otherwise, how could I continue to breathe?
These moon rocks, this dust, knee deep, integral to this sea. I slog through as if it is deep snow, and as I stub my toes on rocks I fail to see because I’m not willing to disambiguate the obstacle with a capitol O from all the little grains of obstacles that could simply slip easily through my fingers: like sand, like dust, like nothing at all. Freedom, in part, is transcending one’s own petty irritability.