I remember when my life was resplendent.
The difficult word in that sentence by the way, is ‘remember’ and not ‘resplendent’ as you vocabulary Nazi’s out there might have presumed. Apologies. When splendor evaporates it leaves a vacuum that nature, it turns out, does not abhor. Instead it uses the open spaces to store the world’s bitterness. Randomly chosen. And not being a perfect container, it leaks out of me.
‘Remember’ is a word that’s more than a word, or rather, functions more than just a word: it’s a pose, a posture, an historical contrast and context. It’s looking back, it’s revisiting a place that is no more, a thing that is gone, a person or persons dead. And not being a perfect rememberer, the remembering misshapes the past and reassembles it into something where not all the pieces fit.
In lacking splendor, the shadows become the brighter spots, relatively, and having had splendor, there was too much color and light to bother with the shadows. In comparing the then-colors with the now-shadows, it turns out I was right: there are only dregs to be found in the shadows. Dregs and lesser mysteries, the ones that drain instead of sustain, the ones to be afraid of and not in awe of, the ones that weaken you into fear put you behind a gun rather than strengthen you to take a chance on peace.
There’s a difference, you know, between being aimless and merely being untethered, and I bet you might guess which one belongs to shadows and which to color and light, and there are very few things which can disturb the stability of one’s current state of mind and therein lies the rub: those things and times and people who worked so very hard to drag you down leave an equally difficult job for you and for other things and times and people to return you to the sunny side of the equivalence point.
Difficulties aside, did the drain of splendor happen with a single word? deed? silence? inaction? Do these things threshold or is my tendency to accumulate gravity what makes each and every stab and pinch and tweak pile upon me?
Should I rethink and re-remember the past in a way that transforms my psychological and historical baggage into balloons to lift me back into the light? Should I invest my time from now forward only in things and places and people who share energies with me instead of demanding them from me? And which is the biggest drain, a person, a place or things?
Perhaps it’s a combination of all three: people of a certain kind change the place they live in by how they treat each other and which aspects of each other they consider merely things. Or perhaps it’s the horrifying amount of energy people devote to the retardation of time itself to approach something approaching an eternal-now where contentedness is settled for because gray is better than black, and white is just too much to risk anything on.
Sometimes I look at the world and see it bounded on one side by a punch line and on the other side by a whole joke:
- “No soap, radio.”
- Patient: “Doc, it hurts when I do that.” Doctor: “Well, don’t do that.”
Don’t worry. If you don’t get what I’m saying then either you’re stupid or I am.
Here beneath the shadows I’m always being told I’m stupid. So I guess that settles it.