Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The impermanence of being

How do I occupy myself? With all these scales, you see!
They are all arranged here on this table — yes, it’s a table,
though you can’t see an utter inch of it beneath this mess.
How do I occupy myself? With these little grains of sand
that sometimes grow into boulders, and these ball bearings
that tend to turn into feathers, and these pennies that become
quarters and these diamonds that burst into songs. Like people,
they can’t seem to maintain one form (or one weight!) for very long.
I run back and forth all day, adjusting one scale to sweet perfection
while five other scales shift mercilessly with the change of season,
the impermanence of being, the fluctuation of everyday objects.
Indeed, I am occupied! I fear when I look back
on my life, I shall see it was nothing less
than one great and impossible balancing act.

        I’m currently reading A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger von Oech. One of the exercises is to come up with a metaphor for life — I thought of a collection of scales with weights that are constantly changing, but other metaphors were simpler, like “Life is an elevator, full of ups and downs.” Can you think of a metaphor for life?


Dorkmaster Flek said...

Damn, that sounds like something I would make of my life... Actually, maybe similar but much less complicated. :) I guess that's why I stay sane; I don't have to balance too many things at once. :)

dogimo said...

A metaphor for life.

A mirror in which you see yourself. You look closer and closer into it, critically, thoughtfully, occasionally pleased with what you see. At a certain point in your life you you reach a realization that causes you to shatter the mirror. Now you are faced with hundreds and thousands of fragmentary selves, fractured and flashing back different angles - angles of you, angles of your empty surroundings. Each reflection true to a point, but all broken - nowhere can be seen the whole.

The whole, in the first place, was actually a lie. A trick of optics.