Monday, March 9, 2009

Nine Minutes

I only got nine minutes to save the world. And most of the ninth minute is gone.

This is a pressure cooker. The image of the pressure cooker is a great one. Grandma used to cook food in a pressure cooker. It was really the microwave of its generation. You put the meat in, set the pressure level to "stun" and let it go. The little gauge on top made it look especially dangerous, like the stove might be heading for space any second. But of course the biggest danger of the pressure cooker was if everyone ignored it and the heat built. Eventually it would blow. That was the danger anyway, even if it didn't happen.

Every minute that passes is another minute of this pressure filled day and life. I'm advancing on, though, aware that each minute must be lived, tick tock tick tock. The pressure comes from all the things swirling about, fears, hopes, what we neglect, what we confront. In an old house like this I have my worries. But it seems inert enough. The walls are still there. But who knows what goes on within them? There might be eating within the lumber, crumbling in the bricks. When I get to the foundation -- were that to happen -- I might find terrible creatures, bugs, chewing.

This isn't the inner castle I'm dealing with, but transfer it all over to that. We don't just have the body that is crumbling, the consciousness caving in, but the physical things that can provoke a disturbance as well. When you have a disturbance in the physical surroundings, it only hastens the other disturbances. Then add to it the other lives (or life) in your vicinity, your field of responsibility, and life is a lot like a pressure cooker. (Sorry about the cliche.)

Two minutes. That's what I'm down to. But maybe I'll be able to slop over. I shouldn't waste it. My wisdom is dwindling. I didn't start out with much. The rats are chewing in the bags. The bags are marked CARE. I've got a bunch of them still packed up from years ago. They sent them to me. I paid for these bags. They're stacked. The stacks are rotten. One minute. One minute and less to go. It can't be happening. My gauge is steaming. The steam is leaking. The leaks are hastening on. The time is gone. I'm down to the bare nubbins. Now I'm looking at bareness. That's it!

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