ThinSlices

Thin-Slices-of-Behavior
" … like ThinSlices of impermanence drawn prism-like through space."

This morning seems composed of thin slices slightly shimmering in the rising sunlight. The eucalyptus tree below my window takes on an etherial and impermanent look, glimmering as if on the very edge of disappearing altogether into some adjacent place. Time seems like narrow vertical wafers through which stuff moves like light cast through a prism. Color, shape, size, even weight seem to derive from an optical-like projection, easily shifted by sleight changes of perspective. The time we inhabit also inhabits us, and might slip away from any of us without any advance notice. One minute here and another minute somewhere else, a sort of mist separating one from the other, prior from present, present from next.

Permanence holds no place here. Neither does place. Ownership feels more like temporary stewardship, everything along for some ride. Familiarity feels comforting but it, too, seems comprised of thin slices shimmering in the rising sunlight, somehow holding on for now but probably not for later, certainly not for long, a surface tension most prominent. The seamless whole seems to be comprised of continuing discontinuities, not necessarily disconcerting losses so much as a hardly perceptible flowing that we fill in by nominalizing verbs. Things are quite literally because we insist that they are, our language refuses to accept that they might not be anything but moving, shimmering, as-if ThinSlices.

I remember time before time disassembled herself, before obvious facts shifted into useful fiction, before gravity began taking anything very seriously. I could pose as an objective observer then, and collect information as if was all diamonds and gold. My brain, then, a vault filling with treasure, my body, essentially immortal for the relevant duration. No bullet or bus ever found me there. My frustrations, hardly more significant than my triumphs. I collected scalps and pelts as if I’d tanned their skins myself. I travelled paths that successfully cloaked my trespasses against myself. I felt masterful much of that time, though even that time now seems as though it was comprised of ThinSlices, slightly shimmering in what I could not then recognize as a rising sunlight.

Of course the sun never actually rises. A trick of perspective and our self-sealing language allows it to do so without ever once accomplishing this astonishing feat. I astonish myself or find this shimmering reality seriously unsatisfying. It’s a project-it-yourself movie, starring me, but still managing to surprise me much of the time. I seem to find myself up there on the screen and also seem to lose myself in the flickering light in-between. I spent years of my professional life shuttling into and out of this shimmering Silicon Valley never once finding it unchanged in my absence. It could change in my presence, too, seeming seriously unsubstantial regardless of what the trades insisted.

I was back here this weekend, back where Springtime starts in January and starts leaving by late March. The usually buff brown hills carry a delicate green the fine texture of baby hair and delicate yellow flowers seem scattered everywhere. Loons still dunk themselves along the salt marsh reaches of this enormous bay. Suburbia stretches further than anyone can see in every direction, right up to the sea. Silt laid down by careless lust-filled miners more than a century and a half ago still clogs the sea lanes today. Bridges built when the future seemed to stretch much further than any past remain as conduits between various familiar presences, leading essentially nowhere anymore.

The Muse and I will return to winter later today, a two hour and change transition taking us two months into the past. The snow we left behind us will greet our return and mock our temporary escape while welcoming us home again. So very many homes to choose from, each a fine, thin wafer of shimmering light, each one a temporary refuge against the night, which also shimmers there, like ThinSlices of impermanence drawn prism-like through space.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved










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