circles: new year’s day 2012
a piece i wrote on the shore in socrates sculpture park on new year’s day, 2012.
“there are no fixtures in nature. the universe is fluid and volatile. permanence is but a word of degrees” … emerson, “circles”
new year’s day 2012.
everything moves in infinite space. circular seeming, but actually the curve of the infinity sign – tilted on its side, end over end, bend and dip and rise once more..
every time i find myself here it seems like the first. i am always seeking solace in the divine wordlessness of this place. the ruin is here, still collapsing – half submerged in the risen tide – with its one newly affixed spire pointing to the sky like the arm of an otherwise invisible sundial. “i count none but sunny hours” – or something to that effect..
we are all keeping time – and one year has now flown into the next, the difference unintelligible for some, in stark contrast for others. but time, time marches on. not to say – it’s running out.. because as i see it now nothing stops moving. we are all looking up under the same sky. we are all searching for something countless souls die without finding.. perspective. perspective is limited. and here i sit at the holy threshold of a new year, at my altar on the water making communion as i have done so many, many times before. right now is different – yet the same..
white specks of seagulls reflect like melting shards of ice caps offsetting the ever-steely river waters, flowing on and on. the water is lapping at the shore, heaving small sighs in the spill of golden rays of the sun pooling in a blindingly bright glow.. this page flails in the wind for a moment, back and forth – bird calls and truck beeps punctuate the dull roar of traffic on the FDR, and i can see – for miles and miles.. even the people standing at the foot of the lighthouse at the tip of the island – it is probably beautiful there right now..
this new world – is oddly comforting.. calm before the storm? – or maybe just knowing there’s a greater purpose for all i do, independent of any plans or restrictions i may introduce.. last night under the stars with nick, swinging as we did all those years before, watching the sky ever so gradually brighten, warm lights in windows finally switch off – i felt a pervading sense of the continuity of all things. closure – closure is an illusion. all things flow, sometimes unbearably so. spools of memory unravel and tangle through your hands – you can catch glimpses of those moments, but moments are all we ever have.
the water fills with endless ripples – everything we do affects something else. sound waves of our former and future selves are colliding with us at all times – shards of infinite space, moments we have both consciously and unconsciously lived, that have happened and not – on this plane and the next.. it is all happening – in the now, this is constant. every moment you breathe is a moment of potential – another you in another world is heaving that breath too. we are all sitting along the edge of the river of time, waters flecked with stardust, sunsets, the glow around the edge of the moon, swirling galaxies broken off from depths of space and potential we can hardly even begin to fathom. everything is happening at once – slipping in and out of vibrations simultaneously strange and familiar.. i will go where i need to go, where this soul in me can bound across the river’s glittering surface, each footstep to hit the water sending reverberations throughout the cosmos. i have never felt so peculiar and connected. when you let go of what you think you want, your potential bobs to the surface.
the light is fading now but i will remember the promise of this moment. my nana is with me always, things will be okay – more than okay. take a little sunshine in the water in your hands and drink to better days – days of our own creation, moving with the infinite current instead of resisting it. i am one piece of a never-ending whole – when i let my head fall back to the sky, i know its vastness is only mirroring my own. i am all of these things – and this place always serves to remind me.. my infinite self alone on the river, hovering over the kind of solitude too deep to be explained. my wings are tucked and folded – but in a moment…
ajd – 25 years old – sculpture park – jan 1, 2012.
“our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.”
immediately after i wrote this, i opened to an essay in my book of ralph waldo emerson’s work and proceeded to read “circles.” throughout my whole being i felt the absolute unexpected synchronicity of what i had just written and what i read in his essay. it is the purest affirmation – a cosmic nod from the universe when you least expect it. there are no coincidences..
“thus there is no sleep, no pause, no preservation, but all things renew, germinate, and spring. why should we import rags and relics into the new hour? nature abhors the old, and old age seems the only disease; all others run into this one. we call it by many names, – fever, intemperance, insanity, stupidity, and crime; they are all forms of old age; they are rest, conservatism, appropriation, inertia, not newness, not the way onward. we grizzle every day. i see no need of it. whilst we converse with what is above us, we do not grow old, but grow young. infancy, youth, receptive, aspiring, with religious eye looking upward, counts itself nothing, and abandons itself to the instruction flowing from all sides. but the man and woman of seventy assume to know all, they have outlived their hope, they renounce aspiration, accept the actual for the necessary, and talk down to the young. let them, then, become organs of the holy ghost; let them be lovers; let them behold truth; and their eyes are uplifted, their wrinkles smoothed, they are perfumed again with hope and power. this old age ought not to creep on a human mind. in nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten; the coming only is sacred. nothing is secure but life, transition, and the energizing spirit. no love can be bound by oath or covenant to secure it against a higher love. no truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. people wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
life is a series of surprises. we do not guess to-day the mood, the pleasure, the power of to-morrow, when we are building up our being. of lower states, – of acts of routine and sense, – we can tell somewhat; but the masterpieces of god, the total growths and universal movements of the soul, he hideth; they are incalculable. i can know that truth is divine and helpful; but how it shall help me i can have no guess, for so to be is the sole inlet of so to know. the new position of the advancing man has all the powers of the old, yet has them all new. it carries in its bosom all the energies of the past, yet is itself an exhalation of the morning. i cast away in this new moment all my once hoarded knowledge as vacant and vain. now, for the first time, seem i to know any thing rightly. the simplest words, – we do not know what they mean, except when we love and aspire.”
happy 2012, folks. don’t lose sight of your true power..
“there are no fixtures to men, if we appeal to consciousness. every man supposes himself not to be fully understood; and if there is any truth in him, he rests at last on the divine soul, i see not how it can be otherwise. the last chamber, the last closet, he must feel, was never opened; there is always a residuum unknown, unanalyzable. that is, every man believes that he has a greater possibility.”
“every ultimate fact is only the first of a new series. every general law only a particular fact of some more general law presently to disclose itself. there is no outside, no inclosing wall, no circumference to us. the man finishes his story, – how good! how final! how it puts a new face on all things! he fills the sky. lo! on the other side rises also a man, and draws a circle around the circle we had just pronounced the outline of the sphere. then already is our first speaker not man, but only a first speaker. his only redress is forthwith to draw a circle outside of his antagonist. and so men do by themselves. the result of to-day, which haunts the mind and cannot be escaped, will presently be abridged into a word, and the principle that seemed to explain nature will itself be included as one example of a bolder generalization. in the thought of to-morrow there is a power to upheave all thy creed, all the creeds, all the literatures, of the nations, and marshal thee to a heaven which no epic dream has yet depicted. every man is not so much a workman in the world, as he is a suggestion of that he should be. men walk as prophecies of the next age.”
photos by audrey dimola. all quoted text by r.w. emerson from his essay “circles”