Century #14: Cold Light, Long Shadows, Tea

From the Journal of Martin Way:

Allentown, Pennsylvania

January 5, 1936

The cold hard light comes in through the white curtains and sets them glowing. Bits of dust swirl and ignite in slanting rays that pierce the room through the gaps between the curtain edges. The room smells heavy of ash from this morning’s fire. I sit with a cup of tea and try to make my thoughts move beyond this cold room.

I am bound by the world into the sharp day. I cannot put myself beyond it. I am consumed into the cold light and long shadows. The vapor from the cup drifts up into the stabbing rays disturbing the perfection with a chaos of thin shadow. I am breathing that light and shadow play. It is part of my being. I can find myself there in its miasma of movement. I know if I drink the tea in this way I will taste my life. How is it that sitting in this way so aware of everything frees me from my place here and also places me here more firmly in my chair in this room on this Sunday afternoon? If I just am here without need for names or time I am free to be here.

Soon I will rise and go into the main house to eat with my family and friends. We will talk and laugh. That will be as it is. This moment is its own material. I collect and fold precious bolts of woven time, saving lengths to wrap myself when I am swept into the busyness of days. These moments of silence and attention inside the light of being tie me to the world and I can let it take me through my days. They slide too quickly into thoughts of oughts and shoulds. Idleness is so despised. I dwell in idleness even when I am busy with work and conversation. My soul is idle at the center of me and will not be drawn into the fray.  I know that happiness and misery are mutable, from one moment to the next inhabiting one soul or another at odd moment . It is openness to sensation and ideas, inhabiting the world without reserve that brings a comfort that moves with a person. I am aware. I see that I am the one who must stay in this moment. I am the keeper of my life, just as everyone else keeps their own. The river of events catches us and flings us into action. I must go do my chores and to supper, but how to be inhabiting my life through it all and not be swept away in the doing of it. Who will I be in that next moment when I rise from my chair, and who will I be when I sit down again to take off my shoes in the dark before the glowing embers of dying fire? Who will I be in ten years or at the moment of my death? A conglomeration of momentary pieces glimpsed in idleness? The accumulation of my actions and words as move through busy days? How will I know myself in that moment? What futile questions I ask myself, unanswerable. But, still I wonder.

This entry was posted in All part of the process, capturing light, Century, Family, Fiction, House and home, mindworks, novel projects, Pennsylvania, philosophy, Questions and riddles, thinking in words, winter and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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