there is no ‘there,’ there

POSTCARD #478 Suddenly I’m not thinking about this and that anymore, just sitting quietly here, aware of the in-breath/out-breath. It’s that wait-and-see thing… and when there’s an opportunity, look for a place in the middle ground. Find equanimity in the midst of uncertainty, the balance, the midway point, neither yearning for this nor not yearning for this… find a temporary abiding there.

There’s a plan taking shape; I go back to Scotland for a visit, long enough to see what remains of family. Now that the threat of Covid is over and over, and under and through, we are free to go where we will.

Almost nothing of my UK ‘self’ remains. I have a sister, the other chick in the nest. And a cousin who tries to keep the strands of family together. The others… all gone in the passing years. I remember mother, warm skin-to-skin palms in that cold air-conditioned room, where she came to her end.

Present time is more connected with the past, where we arrived from, than with the future where we are going to; a place of unconfirmed likelihoods, stumbled-upon in following the here-and-now to the there-and-then – a past tense form used to refer to future time.

This returning is likely to reveal some old faces. Always and forever, (the collective ‘we’) are in recovery from to overwhelm, our dwellings lost in the floods of ancient times – the timeless metaphor of Mind overcome in a tide of worries, fears, and things left undone. Sorrow, lamentation and despair; swept along by unrelenting events, surfacing and going under. But it’s an adherence that appears more difficult to unstick from than it is.

Remembering my life as it was then, extending in the mind’s eye, from that existence stretching into the future. Now here in the future foretold, where there is no ‘there’, there. It’s ‘here, and now (always), nothing remains of the past, only the conceptual wreckage of it revisited.

Access the power that immediately releases the tenacity of grip, the jaw clench, tongue adhered to roof of mouth…. unlock, unfasten, undo; the process of having to reassemble the parts of who I am in every new circumstance – inventing a self that’s satisfied at times, happy and sad, dissatisfied other times.

Arriving ‘home’ after 30 years or more, in the tradition of long distance train drivers, itinerant peoples, travelling salesmen, nomadic Bedouin, and outsourced peripatetic teachers of music in rural schools, there’s an immediate opening to the incidental, innovative, event. Start again on a new page.

Rather than seeing it as it is, I’m looking for the ‘story’ that might be there, comparing it with other stories and understanding it all in stories that are composed of other stories. We create a working structure that we believe is nature rather than seeing Nature itself, in the same way as a ‘story’ is understood by a child.

As silence is not silence, but a limit of hearing.
As some strings, untouched, sound when no one is speaking.
So it was when love slipped inside us.
As this life is not a gate, but the horse plunging through it.
The heart’s actions
are neither the sentence nor its reprieve.
Salt hay and thistles, above the cold granite.
One bird singing back to another because it can’t not
[Jane Hirshfield, Come, Thief]

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