Thursday, September 19, 2013

Existential Snapshots

As a sensory person or maybe just as an Erin, I seem to live in snapshots.  Like the rest of the minutes are slugging and pushing and putting one foot-in-front-of-the-othering because I have those adult things to harvest.

Then life happens:
  • Sadie's ear flips to show a pink underside and I'm filled with adoration and gratefulness that she is still here with us
  • A friend's little boy lifts his arm and I see his belly because his shirt is just a bit too small for his growing frame and I love his mommy that can't keep up with laundry and fitted clothes either.
  • Abby tells me she loves me more than God, heaven, Sadie, Cricket, and...even Uncle Jimmy while her cheeks turn to cherries and her furtive arms wrap around my neck in a proper stalker strangle-hold.  I am hers and she is doesn't care if it hurts a little.

Time works in stops and starts for me, does it do that for you too?  The smoothness of days never happens and I'm not complaining because the herky jerky standstills overwhelm me as it is.  If I had to feel that much during all the minutes, I'd be needing Oprah piped in around the clock holding LifeClasses while I watched, catatonicly, from my bed.

Sometimes I wonder why people got scarred with consciousness. And is it this blessing or simply the result of surviving through dinosaurs and stock markets?   Are we, in fact, the only ones on this planet who are aware of our awareness?  How do we know our catahoulas aren't looking at us saying, "Wow, Food Lady is getting awfully snowy around the temples, I can't believe we only have a few more Saturday strolls together."

We think, we know we think, we die and we know we die.  When I was studying paleontology in college, I read a short cartoon about how cavemen walked away from their dead like they never were alive.  They didn't bury them, they didn't honor their lives with them, they didn't carry their lifeless bodies to a safe place because they themselves would've been pterodactyl food.  They moved on from that moment into the next moment without once looking back because their own lives depended on it.  For a few minutes, I was jealous of their coldness.  How amazing to just live and keep on stomping the earth without always missing the ones you hate to live without. 

Maybe in the safety of progress we have surpassed our own ability to remember we are all terminal. 

We remember, we miss, we honor, we worry, we grieve because we can.  Nobody is going to come along and eat us if we stop to keen and wail. 

And this thing, this human nature of ours that can stop and contemplate overwhelms me.  Some days it makes me want to sleep hours under the covers or drink lattes until I get bloat.

Then there are the snapshots.  They just spark * boom * pow * throughout the day and I thank my skies they never stop.  Only in them can I be linear, fluid, and fulfilled.
  • the strain of a turtle's neck on a pond bank
  • a Yankees hat tucked neatly on the shoulder of a busy road, unmoved by oncoming traffic
  • the exhale of Sparrow as she devotes every blink to my granola bar
  • a friend's Batman shirt buckling sweetly as she kneels down to wipe her son's face
  • my new friend answering her door still chewing, her red hair tied up in lovely knot, an explosion of sunset around her kind face

These things hold my attention and keep me from myself.  These snapshots grip the nerve endings that are too often busy planning, preparing, worrying, and acting the right way. 

Arrested by their unfettered being here, it takes a second to acknowledge I am holding my breath. 

Interesting that being alive requires me to hold my own breath.

When you catch your glimpse, your explosive snapshot of life, what does it look like to you?  How long can you hold onto it before slogging along for the next few minutes (hours, weeks?) Or do yours last all day long?  Tell me, how do you not eat all the Oreos?


May your snapshots be often and unsettling.  And may we both remember to breathe.


Andrea Mowery said...

I have learned not to get too bogged down by my thoughts. My snapshots are a rabbit-hole that never end.

And then who would buy the Oreos?

OSMA said...

That's good advice, not to get bogged down. Its a fine line for me. I only notice when I'm all, "huh? Wha?" When the kids are talking to me...preoccupied with thoughts in a bad way.

I was buying all the Oreos until we went Paleo. Now I'm buying all the Cocounut four. :)