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?