Last semester in my religion class I found it funny that (almost) every time a religious group felt they had deviated from the true intent of their Scriptures or beliefs, they would start a new religion and from there build a new way of interpreting their faith.
It made me think of when the autumn comes and I remember how life used to be,. I was a playful yet shy little boy who defined my life in terms of how full my Pokedex was and whether or not I had caught the last episode of Digimon. I miss those days–not for their content, but for their simplicity. There were no such things as deadlines. Vocabularies were smaller. Complex numbers were still just imaginary.
So I did what I always did, in those moments before class began, or before it ended, or before my teacher next spoke: I wrote.
An imagined past
in the belief that
things were better then
and we could recreate them
where we came from
and where we’re going
and how to improve
to live better
and return to
where we want to be
But it’s never so simple as that, is it? As I follow my goals this year, even on paper these simple tasks–drink water, meditate, write in my journal–these things I now define myself by, or wish to be defined by, these things were not the things I had back then. The past has passed us by. How can I make myself better by returning to it? Shouldn’t I instead try to salvage what’s left of the future?
* * *
Back then, I loved the winter. I still love the winter. Maybe it’s insecurity, but I don’t like the summer. Too much skin. Too little clothes to guard us. Pale September and all that, “all my armor falling down…” Look it up if you don’t know where I’m going. Beautiful song. Beautiful voice. Makes me want life to be a film in black and white, silent if it should be, fresh and crisp like a winter’s night.
I lived in upstate New York in the mountains where we had two seasons: Mud season and snow season. The cold white snow would wrap around me as I founded angels fallen to the earth. I recall campfires and marshmallows and ghost stories, searching the ground for young branches to burn. Where was I going with this?
The full moon shed its silver light upon something more a mirror than crystallized water. Where was I going with this? It stared back at me like the surface of the frozen lake, so calm in our imaginations, yet scratched by the blades we used to walk across it, scratched by the blades I could not yet stand upon. Where was I going?
Mountain smoke rises
from the fires we gather round
waiting for sunlight
Afterwards, there would be hot chocolate. Always hot chocolate. And then we would gather our yarn and crochet till the morning came, dramatized of course. We never stayed up all night, except on New Years. Then I fell in love with Devon Sawa while Christina Ricci drove me to his house in my dreams.
How the strangest things are the ones to stay.
* * *
Time is a strange creature, turns flesh to leather and makes wine even better, causes us to forget what we just ate for dinner (eggs and turkey bacon–so glad I still remember, but it’ll pass, it always does) yet holds onto the most obscure moments littering our myriad pasts.
How do we measure time? In seconds, in heartbeats, in moments of connection, in pages reads, words written? Words written leads me to word counts, to memories of six successful NaNoWriMos, to journal assignments this semester and how I strain for my first fifty words with nothing to say and then run over, run to the point of excess, direly needing to trim it down, to cut away the pieces of myself that I have bled upon the screen.
One Hundred Words
Why does the word count start at one? I’m at ten. I must write one hundred words. Almost twenty done. One fifth there. I’m on my way to save the day and here is another ten to bring me closer to the end and what would I do if I could write you the world and what would you do if I gave it to you and what, what, what would be the point if there were no point at all and in every moment, a strand of light became the thread of thought that was woven into a rope that wrapped around us and tied us to something true, to something deeper than me or you. What would I say, what would I spin, what angle would this picture bring when I see you, and you see me, and somewhere something else is free yet we are bound until we’re found and therein you can welcome me and I can take you in and we can sin and sin and sin sin sin. And then happily, untie this rope made of a thousand million strands of light and I could write you the world and give it to you and then, then counted, numbered, turned to stone, we could be immortal all on our own.
* * *
And here I am again. Back where I began. Where was I going with this?