Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Silenced by the Night

For D., who first read me this poem on a long-ago wintry night atop a lovely hill, who held my hand when I was too afraid to look down, whose smile always feels like sunshine, and who always keeps a song in his heart. And because I have no other words of my own tonight.

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear. 
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. 

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go,

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

- Theodore Roethke

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Edge of the Ocean

When I was younger and the author of a different blog, I remember I used to be obsessed with Grey's Anatomy. I thought of the much-confused Meredith Grey as a sort of alter-ego and go-to gal for my own life problems. Of course, this was way back when my 'life problems' consisted of dealing with an uber-competitive classmate/frenemy and agonising about a crush who was completely clueless about my existence. Ah, now those were simpler times!

Anyway, since Grey's Anatomy has since fallen off my tv-viewing radar and I'd like to think my life has gotten complex enough for me to now watch trashier television than I used to, and not obsess about it (contrary to what my friends would claim), I thought it might be nice to revisit those old-favourite quotable quotes that made Meredith Grey such an inspiring character in the first place.

Whereas I've clearly outgrown some of them, and now find a few quite mawkish. But the rest of them, I'm happy to report, still make a lot of sense to me.

This one, for example. "You can waste your life drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them." I think those are words to live by, really.

Reading them again made me smile and remember what it was about that scrappy unabashedly-emo chick that was so appealing in the first place. It was that fierce determination to go out and get what she wanted, regardless of the personal cost. It was that unique mix of desperate and zealous, detached and vulnerable, needy and independent that made her feel so real to me. Oddly enough, it was kinda like meeting an old friend - the kind you used to be real close to, but now find you don't really talk to any more, apart from the occasional inspirational text message.

The song remains the same

These days I feel a little lost in the haze of routine. Every day resembles the previous one so exactly that the passage of time doesn't feel like something that needs to be made note of at all, really. I've realised I've spent almost my whole life doing things at odd times of day - so now, waking at the crack of dawn and actually watching sunrises feels like something out of someone else's life.

I'm surrounded by people all the time and yet, I wish the world could be a little more intrusive. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm holding something back. I've been awfully good at withdrawing from people but now I'm required to do the opposite. To reach into them. And sometimes, quite literally, too. Other people's lives, their existences start to take on the quality of the hyper-real. I used to have a professor who claimed that Indians aren't, what she called 'self-actualised'. 

It isn't true. Most people have such a clear sense of self - they think about their own self all the time and they think about making their lives better. I mean, why wouldn't you? You literally are at the centre of your universe. It's from behind your own eyes that you perceive the world. And everyone else in it. It makes sense that you would think of your place in the world as something important and something unchanging. It is this sense that colours all of one's reactions to the world. This idea of being at the centre of it all. 

Of course, there is a part of me that enjoys being a creature of habit. It's a good thing to have all your days mapped out. It is weirdly freeing. Time passes more slowly and the precious few hours I keep for myself every day feel refreshing. I've started to read more and study more and enjoy it. 

I've never been what you'd call a workaholic. But now the idea of taking a break feels much less appealing, much more unnecessary. I guess you'd say one gets used to anything. And I am grateful for that. I never thought I'd be this content right now. I'm really, really glad that I am.