Partial Thoughts

Conflating comfort with happiness... therein, perhaps, lies a dangerous trap.

(And yet... to name one simple comfort, I truly miss running water... the kind that one need not transport oneself, which flows at one's whim through networks of pipes... I see so clearly now, why civilization often invites plumbing of some kind.)

What is it about liminal spaces?

I stand on the edge, quite literally. This place is at the border between small town and conservation area. Few human activities permitted in the latter. The road is unpaved beyond this point, in a seriously hazardous way.

And yet (though only from the paved direction), Amazon trucks still appear. Even though the electricity line does not. Cellular only works reliably at specific times of day with special equipment. 4G is a lifeline to the “modern world”... a world that has come to feel something of a hazy memory, altogether foreign, unfamiliar.

I am adrift.

I no longer know the stories to tell... not even the one about who I am.

I don’t really mean I in the singular... it’s more of a we, some loose assemblage of entities that coheres into identity over time. All the other microorganism with whom I share a body.

I don’t mean to start every sentence with I. I don’t even know what story to tell about individualism anymore. I don’t know if it is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Have I ever been part of a community... I’m not sure of any of it anymore.

The only thing I am sure about is loving other creatures. I’m thinking of people, but it’s just as true of plant friends, bee friends, all the rest.

This idea of interconnectedness. That we are part of everything acting around us, as well as inside us. Thousands of wills to be, perhaps? One begins to wonder where one ends or begins.

This place. If place is important, so much so... what am I doing here?

In some ways it is a great relief, being away from much of humanity once more.

In other ways, far too many ways, it only highlights all that I bring of this of which I was a part, still am a part, and desperately wish to have nothing at all with which to do.

It clings to me, within me... I like things, writing like this, for instance, at a digital device with a keyboard and screen. The internet is on, and that’s the only thing other than my friend, the little oil lamp. 3-4 watts are going out... call it four. I’m content with that number, though I will turn all connections off at night. Why would anything ever be running while one sleeps?

I feel as though I’m losing my grip on what it is to live well. As though all my past thoughts about how one might live, were simply illusory. Like so many drifting motes of dust.

The flames lick upwards, and I briefly become lost in their shapes, ever-changing. Patterns. Is that all there is to life, this endless search for patterns, for meaning?

The chill calls me back from these thoughts. Why did I imagine I was more resilient to cold? Sometimes it creeps in, all-consuming, unshakably present.

I used to think it anthropomorphizing... the way I had come to feel about plants. Now I think more likely the opposite, we far too often anthropocentrize. To say that higher competences such as intelligence, learning, and memory mean nothing in the absence of brains is (in Daniel Dennett’s words) cerebrocentric.