In a Strange Land: Nine

There have been moments in exile when it seems there is nothing that propels me forward. More than moments, really, for the thought is not merely momentary. If not moments, then perhaps I could call them passages of time when there is an absence of things needing to be done, and, for the time being, there is nothing that I want to do whether or not it needs doing.

A cloud passes over the sun, softening the atmosphere until its passage is over and the sun’s unfiltered light resumes.

These are passages of repose, I think. For this passage of time, I can see what exists as if in reflection. Perhaps an image of myself is captured briefly in this reflection, or maybe it is only the open sky or the shimmering surface of the water. The reflection in the passage of repose is territory yet to be explored. It is mysterious.

The correct attitude toward repose is gratitude. I do not fear repose. Yet it makes me draw my breath as the idea that nothing propels me bursts into my awareness. The absence of need, purpose and desire is unsettling. Yet I am grateful to have the breath of this passage. There is a stillness to be celebrated here. It will not last.

The wind will stir something, rippling the pond. The reflection will shatter into thousands of pieces, and the image will be lost. My attention will be overcome with a new purpose, a new desire. How could I have forgotten that necessity?

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Some other stuff for later,

  • 73
    I wondered sometimes whether I would lead my life any differently if I knew how old I was. It was a question not unique to exile, but in the time of exile, age was defined by death. At a younger age death had been more abstract than it now seemed.…
  • 72
    There was no turning back from our exile. My life continued. Though living seemed optional, the alternative was complicated as much as it was inevitable. Did I live to avoid the complication of dying? There was more to it than that, I thought. Of course there was. But what was…
  • 72
    And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. [Exodus 2:21-22] It was the same but different. There was…

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