Where do I begin?
Start at the beginning? I don’t want to.
Start where you are. Except that if I start where I am here today by the time you, the reader, see this, I will be farther into the future.
Start future writing? I’m reading the book I wrote and thinking it’s quite an accomplishment!
Time appears to be on a continuum made of a straight line, but that line is an illusion. Life itself is illusory. We’re masses of cosmic molecules moving around interacting with other molecules.
Contemplation? It’s possible to think too much.
I want to write about interconnectedness. Thicht Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist monk, says that we Inter-Are. This is how it works: I’m sitting on a couch that was made in a factory somewhere. It’s covered with an orange synthetic fabric that was most likely made somewhere else. My feet are on a floor covered by a carpet made by different people than the ones who made my shoes. I’m sitting in a building made by materials created all over the world.
As I look outside the window, I can see trees blooming – there’s a glorious profusion of white blossoms, the first I’ve seen this spring. I sat here for an hour on my computer, a MacBook that was designed in Cupertino, California but manufactured in Suzhou, China, on this couch made by someone, and never noticed the blossoms until now. The wind is blowing the trees but the blossoms are new enough that the petals aren’t falling to the ground yet.
Who grew the trees? Who planted the trees? Who watered them? How much water and sun do they require in the courtyard to survive? Are there enough nutrients in the ground for them to stay healthy?
See? Take one item and try to trace it back to its origin. It’s hard to do. So, how can I trace myself back to my origins? Do I start with my ancestors who did actually come over on the Mayflower? Or, do I begin with my parents and how they met?
And, how does this relate to cycles, seasons and elements? Because that’s what I REALLY want to write about. My current season of chronological life is autumn. I’ve probably lived three-quarters of my life already and hope to have a good quarter left to go. I’m post-menopausal so I’ve got some kind of strange zesty energy motivating me to create something meaningful. Autumn leads me to water, the element of the west and a strong desire to explain the connection between cardinal directions, seasons and cycles.
The spiral, as an image and a symbol, teases me because it illustrates what I’m trying to describe yet the description is elusive. My life is not linear. It’s a circle within a circle connected to seasons. It’s an important key to unlocking the mystery of existence. The Milky Way is spiral shaped. We find the spiral in nature all the time, in shells, leaves, water patterns, planetary paths. It’s a symbol of expansive, universal wisdom.
This decidedly convoluted thinking of mine (that you’re now privy to) is my way of letting you, the reader, know that my book is going to go in circles. In the end, it will make sense. You’ll learn more about me, how I got to where I am now, and you’ll discover original methods for viewing your life, how it expands, changes and evolves as well.
Curiosity and courage are required to generate forces for change. Change, ultimately, is unavoidable; It can be directed, but not necessarily controlled. In the end, we’ll emerge feeling connected to each other – like a murmuration of starlings, graceful and beautiful – because we Inter-Are.
Introduction to my memoir, written April 2017, photo of Neville.