Reflections on a Spring Day
From Constructing A Nervous System by Margo Jefferson
I spent much of yesterday moving through the world with only minimal contact with a multitude of others who very likely were more connected to some other people operating as part of a family or chosen group of some sort. I moved through the world with no expectation of involvement or affiliation, merely acknowledging and affirming with eye contact and a greeting any person who responded to my gaze. I always make sure people know that I see them and that they exist for me, but I rarely strike up conversations with people. I respond to polite chit chat in kind with as much honesty as I am able to muster on short notice. I am a slow processer of language for the most part better at pondering than repartee. I went through my errands this way responding to greetings and cashier pleasantries.
later as I hiked on my usual trail up and around the hill and woods close to where I live. I passed a young woman who looked lost in thought and a seemed to be struggling with something. I smiled and acknowledged her presence but did not speak a greeting. Then I heard her say, “Hello” in a very soft distant voice. I turned and returned her greeting as she passed and I saw a small nod. I was trying not to disturb her thoughts, but I am thinking she needed someone to affirm her existence, to be seen and acknowledged as a part of something other than alone. There have been so many times when I have needed this affirmation no matter how slight.
I proceeded to the top of a small hill and sat absorbed in the beauty of the day. The breeze pushed herds of clouds morphed across the blue expanse of sky making new leaves flutter and shimmer clinging to flexing stems as birds willynillied about in search of bugs and seeds, making their pronouncements in many varied voices and vocabulary. It was a glorious day to sit and be a part of. For no matter how alone I seem to be, I know I am part of this world and whatever moments I bring my awareness to, or not.
“In the whole of your absurd past you discover so much that’s absurd, so much deceit and credulity, that it might be a good idea to stop being young this minute, to wait for youth to break away from you and pass you by, to watch it going away, receding in the distance, to see all its vanity, run your hand through the empty space it has left behind, take a last look at it, and then start moving, make sure your youth has really gone, and then calmly, all by yourself, cross to the other side of Time to see what people and things really look like.”
― LOUIS-FERDINAND CÉLINE
From Stoney Soil Vermont