May 30, 2011

Rivers of Thought

It seems with every flurry of activity comes a downpour of thoughts in my brain. When they first form they are distinct little raindrops- yet once fallen, quickly becoming indistinguishable from one another. There seems too great a river in my brain to share anything cohesive with you.

Nearly a week ago I took a walk through the woods (its memory still plays in my mind). I tickled my sister with a fern I picked- she went for the tight muscles in my side- and then we were chasing and giggling and tickling and dragging and squealing and the ordeal was not over until we passed a stone cave built into the hillside and I threatened to throw her in. (It's either a root cellar or a druid hole- historians can't make up their minds- so take your pick). She calmed down, slipped her hand in mine, and told me firmly that, "We are at peace now." Then from her tongue came the most tender confidings- about sisters... and me... and laughter. (My heart still gasps when I remember- not the words that she spoke- but all that lay behind them).

This weekend was a whirlwind. On Saturday we drove down into the city and went to Zabar's- an incredible (and enormous) Jewish deli. We walked in and were immediately confronted by 40 barrels of assorted olives- and the smells of cheese, fish, and coffee. My grandfather bought all sorts of amazing goodies (meat, salad, cheese, bread) and we picnicked in Central Park (while listening to a jazzy street band). Oh, yes. And then we went to my Met again. Afterwords we sat out on the front steps in the sun and listened to a saxophone player... by the time we left a crowd had amassed around him and three young guys (two  in suits) were dancing.

I keep thinking of what God showed me when I prayed (thoughts oppressing my heart) for evidence of His love curled up in a hotel room... and it seems I have not yet had time to digest all that I learned and felt when I heard a sermon on Sunday from a visiting missionary.

I'm sitting at my computer (feeling hot and sticky and tired) and my mind is rambling down alleys... past the people I met... the music I heard... the foods I smelled... the feelings I felt... and the littered highways we passed which made me daydream about clean-up projects.

I live life through my experiences- and I see life through my thoughts. I don't know which part of me is larger- the half that delights in experience (and consequently adventure, sensory information, and the unexpected)- or that which longs to understand and conclude and realize and immortalize (and so betakes itself to the quiet to reflect and create).

My writing routine is a bit happenstance. I live (and don't think). And then I think (and don't live). I have to live to have something to write about. But I have to be still and think to write. Yet the longer I wait  for  ruminations to ripen- the more fuzzy the memories become in my mind.

I had thoughts yesterday. And the day before. But I didn't write them down. And so now everything feels fuzzy and half-baked inside... like I lost something and I'm not sure what.

Experiences are raindrops... they conjoin in pools, slip into streams of thought, and become the rivers we call our past.


  1. Such beautiful, dreamy writing. So true this tension between writing and thinking and living. Sometimes, I find my experiences feel staged so I can write about them. And I feel flustered when I am truly experiencing a moment and yet stop in the middle to try to remember, for writing.

    And oh, the metaphor of river. Can we ever get enough of it?

  2. YES, "I find my experiences eel staged so I can write about them." I feel that all the time! Like I'm not even done experiencing and I'm already figuring out how I'd write about it.

    Nope. We can never get enough of anything that has to do with water. ;-)