Fragments of Consciousness

It’s past 6:30; I should be up and energetic by now. But I am not energetic. Far from it. I got up around 5:30. Ever since, I have felt spent; weak in body and spirit. I should go for a walk. Oh, there are dozens of things I should do. But I won’t do them. Because we all deserve an occasional day of recovery from fighting the gears of the beastly machine with which we all wrestle and to which we eventually lose. Yet even in this fugue state, I have been able to make it through taking my blood pressure; it’s not abnormally low. I have yet to breathe into the infernal machine, but I will do that before the day gets too assertive. And I will exchange my very comfortable morning clothes (t-shirt, gym shorts, and flip-flops) for the requisite uniform (button-down shirt, moderately uncomfortable “dress” shorts, and tennis shoes. Or fitness shoes. or gym shoes. Or whatever the current term is; I lose track.


Once upon a time, I considered the possibility of becoming a wealthy tennis player. I encountered insurmountable obstacles when I learned I had no wealth. The lack of tennis skills contributed to the roadblock; I could find no way around that powerful barrier.


If  you look carefully and with focused intent, you can watch darkness invade daylight. At the far edge of the western sky, you’ll see a tiny smudge of sunlight; right below that, you’ll see an almost imperceptible ribbon of nighttime. That’s where the invasion of darkness begins. If you keep staring at that spot, you’ll soon feel darkness settle down around your shoulders and you’ll sense that light has been sucked out of the sky.  At the same time, and without your consent, darkness brushed away fatigue and guilt and the rest of those loathsome emotions that have plagued you for so very long. You cannot decide whether you love or hate darkness for giving you at least a moment’s break from the experience. The inexplicable pain that no one, not even the doctors or the shamans can understand. Nor can you make the same determination about your relationship with daylight. You are stuck in the middle. A luminescent limbo, as it were.

What is the visual equivalent to a muffled sound? Is it a blurred vision? Sometimes, I think it’s best to ignore convention; leave the socially acceptable behaviors outside the door, alongside your shoes. Get crazy! You can do it. Go ahead; mix it up! Take language for a fanciful ride in an imaginary chariot. Say it. Go ahead and say it: “He watched the sky as  the last shredded pieces of his muffled vision were claimed by the gusty winds.” There, doesn’t that feel better? Perhaps. But it still lacks the meaning we were going for. Let’s try it again: “Out of the corner of his eye, a muffled vision appeared, but just for a moment. It seemed to be a coyote sitting in front of  a campfire. But he couldn’t see it well enough to make out the details. And the sight was so brief he wasn’t sure he actually saw what his eyes claimed they witnessed.” Of course, those are two radically different sentences, aren’t they? Well, of course And the circumstances of the situation changed radically during the intervening few seconds. There is an explanation for everything. Even the way you feel when in my presence; a slight attraction mixed with dread.


These sentences—entire paragraphs—illustrate what I’m dealing with here. Creative madness whose purpose has long since been scraped clean by the sands of time. So, the purpose is empty; yet to be written and lived? That’s an opportunity! But it can be just as much an insurmountable barrier that blocks every avenue leading to success. Success? What the hell it that? It’s not getting out of this thing alive; none of us can do that. But if not that, what? Oh. Having enough money to pay both the mortgage and the doctor.

Enough! My fingers are no longer tied to my brain. I am typing  words spoken by several other people during incomplete conversations that could not be understood by anyone but the speakers. Have you ever listened, in awe, to a couple of people engage in utterly incoherent conversations that, to them, are perfectly complete and logical? It’s a beautiful thing.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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