It was just last week. Algae speckled waves splashed against the boat’s hull. The boat sitting is now a memory. Ninety-nine percent of my life is a memory. The present moment disperses as I think about it. The future is yet to become a memory. Sounds simplistic. It’s entangled. Holding on to the moment before it becomes the past is slippery even in a lotus position. Figuring how to fill this moment is complex. Especially when not trying to repeat a particular recollection, except for what I consider the most salient and desirable segments. The essayist, poet & biographer Samuel Johnson wrote in The Idler (1636) that “the true art of memory is the art of attention.”
Two large shoulder bags and a case with a laptop computer are all resting on the back seat of my coupe as I drive up a narrow “public access” away from the water. I stop at a coffeeshop. I place a generous size of ice green tea sans sugar in a cup holder between the driver’s and passenger’s seat as I embark on the interstate. I switch channels on the “public” radio then turn it off.
I miss satellite radio. I miss the options and more in-depth news coverage from abroad and the varied music channels. When traveling to various places it becomes sadly apparent that good information costs money, like good health benefits, and good education and easy access to shorelines. Free they are not. Free would-be humanitarian, anti-capitalistic and anti-competitive for content, space and time. But all people will inevitably return to the shoreline of their existence – particles of dust. I relish the potential exotic and peaceful quality of the revealed minute.
Detour sign. Side trip. I drive pass shacks, rusted farm machinery and sullen faces. I don’t know any poor that are truly happy with their state of affairs. There’s an emotional and physical linkage to violence and poverty. If you have a healthy mind and body mind you can work but can you ever catch up to a comfortable life covering the basics?
Living is competition. We learn that at a young age. The carrot stick is waiting and wanting. Nibble. Nibble. To ask who stands to gain the most from the human predicament is to invite anger. Violence to the human spirit is also to ask the actual price of engaging in peace, collaboration and pay equality compared to the cost of competition, self-blame and on a larger scale – war. The financial gain from the manufacturing of armaments fills the accounts of the corporate and government suppliers and the bankers.
Debt is just another form of empowerment for those that “own” the debt and debtors. The cost of human lives may be a gut check or not. A note from a colleague in Europe asked, “why would a savvy, educated, impoverished person after assessing the human-scape around them today want to birth a child? Adopt, if you want the challenge and cost.”
I haven’t heard back from the journalist in Yemen. In contact with others. Making no assumptions. Journalists from around the world can easily find themself in a precarious situation for merely reporting the facts. Imprisonment, torture and assassination of journalists witnessed a record high in 2020.
Is it easier to lie than tell the truth? For whom?
Weekend: long distance connections – colleagues on west coast and those in transition from different countries – telephone, texts/emails – to writers/journalist, artists and others.
Write and write some more. It’s about accentuating one’s brief opportunity to experience being human before returning to dust.