Monday, June 1, 2009

My Hiatus Comes Into Its Own

When a thing has been around for a while, give or take on the time depending on what it is, it's no longer wobbling around, hobbling about, feeling its way or feeling unsure of itself. If it can bounce off this wall, careen toward that one, feel the pushing of many hands toward that extreme, then shove off from this one, it develops a certain independence through the scrapes and trials, and finds itself seeking a clearing, a place of light, a path without hindrance.

I think of the way it is with little baby birds, unsure of themselves. But look at the time frame they're working with! Three weeks ago they were an egg. Now they're hatched, pretty well grown, and expected to fly. I think of the power of flight as something I can only dream of. It'd be nice to be able to fly. Maybe it would. Although, you know, if human beings could fly it'd just give us more ways to get in trouble. All the ne'er do wells would misuse the power to run drugs. The police would be shooting down innocent fliers by mistake. You'd have to buy a license. The rates would go up. It'd be a mess.

But when you're innocent like a bird, it's all in your power to get out there and flap 'em with the best of 'em. They're very unsure of themselves at first, though, but pretty soon they swoop, dive, dodge, bob, and weave with a great deal of expertise, to the point that you start to think they're just showing off. For them it's no longer special, and they're no longer happy to just fly around here. They get bored and decide maybe they need to fly south for the winter. And next thing you know everyone's doing it, like with geese. They're up there in big wedges, honking like a car alarm. And you know they're really cursing their ability to fly, since it now wastes so much time they have very little time left for other things.

Ever since I went on hiatus, I've been feeling my way along -- slower and less sure at first, but little by little I've been getting my sea legs, my wings have developed some muscle at the sockets, I've lost my baby teeth, and I've gotten my adult eyebrows. If you think of it in terms of maturing, little tufts of body hair have sprouted, first like a nucleus exactly centered, like in the center of an arm pit. Then it's been ringed by a new growth of hair. Then that has been ringed. And other rings have been added. It'd be interesting to see it happen with a fast motion camera slowed down. I can even picture a beard coming in one hair at a time, then being ringed multiple times to the point that there's all these circular patterns. I don't know. It's an image worth documenting.

The early days are past. And when I look back I smile at my early thoughts about permanent retirement. How fast I was thinking! It's interesting to dream in such big terms when the thing was barely off to a start. Now that I've had some weeks to think it over, to stew, to examine it in detail, some of the same dreams and same thoughts are there, but I also can see the pitfalls. I'm not rushing a thing at this point. Just taking my time and letting things go where they feel most naturally like going.

My hiatus has broken into the clear. I can look back at all the clamoring, but all that gets smaller as I advance on. And soon I won't be looking back as much, then not at all. To the left and to the right, there's very little obstruction being offered. The path ahead looks rosy and bright. There's some very interesting natural colors ahead. Blue sky, yellow sun, green trees, and an occasional bit of red just to break up the monotony, like a cherry in a can of fruit cocktail.

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