"I'll hardly notice either time or mind."

Healing happens within a timeless state. It occurs at scales beyond or before sensory experience, absolutely invisibly. Nor can anyone hear healing happen, or smell it, or taste it, or watch it happening. One can notice that it happened but never witness it in action. Time seems to work like this, too, that second hand measuring off what happened rather than anything happening. Watching it seems the one certain way to distract from actually experiencing it, as if anyone could experience time at all. Time accumulates into infinitesimals, my many years of life now distilled into flashes and glimpses of indeterminate duration, meaningless both in dimension and duration now. Timelessness might be the same sensation as meaninglessness, the same as each one of the lessnesses, for their very label assigns them to negative space, territory with no finite reciprocal opposite. The lessnesses come as close as we ever come to experiencing nothing at all.

The doctor passed me a passel of don't as I left the surgical center. My optometrist handed me a few more the next morning. Though I feel every bit myself, I'm enjoined to monitor myself as if I was not yet quite fully myself. They probably put the wrong guy in charge.
Because I sense no physical limitation, I must remain mindful to remember my many don'ts. I'm not to bend over, not to lift more than forty pounds, not to scratch around that tender eye. I feel hesitant to do anything at all, though doing nothing seems an impossible expectation. I find that I cannot comply, catching myself engaging in some no-no only after I've started engaging. These glitches leave me wondering if I'd gone too far, puzzled at how much of an infraction actually counts against me. I try to remain aware but understand that I'm engaged in a genuine fool's mission.

I accept that healing happens timelessly but struggle to acknowledge that the rest of my existence probably does, too. Everything seems so tightly regulated, time-boxed and time-bound, though only rather naively painted into convenient corners, the only edges having been painted down and labeled poison. I could step across or into any of them at any time I want, but have been entrained to not really want to do that anymore. I inherited a farmer's sense of time, one that runs from before dawn until shortly after dusk, seven blessed days every week, an inexorable agenda endlessly repeating its rhythm. I yawn my way through suppertime and defer breakfast until almost noon, my afternoons looming before me like a painter's blank canvas. I never know where the time went, but then I hardly ever see it coming, either.

Healing time finds a way to bring everything surrounding it into slightly sharper focus. The deliberate timelessness of it highlights the underlying timelessness of every other time, too. What seemed dauntingly different in anticipation turns into simply the same old-same old when I'm immersed within it trying to remember my fresh list of don'ts. I don't usually experience this same-old state, though I recognize it as achingly familiar. I count the days as they pass me by. I count the eye drops, ticking off the handy checklist provided so that I would not forget. I sometimes have to go back and fill in the boxes I neglected to check when I last passed through, every day so similarly organized that I sometimes lose myself within the space, if that space really qualifies as space at all. Focused mindfulness seems to encourage a countervailing mindlessness, a negative space within the supposed positive. Once I'm healed, by which I mean, once I'm back to my familiar old time-bound mindlessness again, I'll hardly notice either time or mind.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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