Friday, January 21, 2005

Advice from my youth

Sometimes I have to remind myself of things.  Rilke helps:

"If you have this love for insignificant things and seek, simply as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems to be poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory, not perhaps in understanding, which lags wandering behind, but in your innermost consciousness, wakefulness and knowing.  You are so young, you have not even begun, and I would like to beg you to have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart and to try to cherish the questions themselves, like closed rooms and like books written in a very strange tongue.  Do not search now for the answers which cannot be given you because you could not live them.  It is a matter of living everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, one distant day live right into the answer."

Last night I had a dream that I was sitting on the beach, and the tide started rising really quickly, and I had to scramble up the sand dunes, and even higher and higher, as the water kept rising and the waves kept getting stronger.  There was nothing threatening about it--the waves were almost gentle--but they were eroding something, taking pieces of things away, and I couldn't stop to save any of it, just had to keep moving.  I was grabbing onto things for leverage: trees, roots, heavy stones, and pulling myself up slowly slowly, but I was still wet, still aware that if I stopped moving I'd be swept away.  So of course the waves are time, making loss out of everything, and the things I take hold of are these questions, that help me climb upwards but do nothing to stop the tide, and the sea itself may be mortality, or it may be the answer, because no matter how fast I scurried, I never thought for one moment that I was moving towards anything in particular, and I had the vague sensation that what I really wanted was behind me, that what I really wanted more than anything was to be swallowed up and carried off.  And yet there I was, still scrambling and panting, grabbing onto what I could and watching precious things drift away.  These are the things I dream about.

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