Friday, July 8, 2011

Unencumbered (like a cucumber)

Growing up, we spent more time in the marsh across the street than we did in our houses. Maybe our thoughts took on the shape of cattails or were muddy like brackish water. Maybe they wound through brush like the trails that were bushhogged for us to explore.

Our girls just went for 30 days without watching television, allowed just one movie a day. They were/are not vidiots (video idiots) to begin with--they prefer their bikes, the park, the pool, the beach--but it has been cool to see their minds work differently when they think about what to do next.

And maybe that's the thing: allowing your thoughts to take the shape they would take if they were unencumbered. Unencumbered like a cucumber, free from the pickle jar.

My grandfather was a recovered alcoholic, who didn't drink for the last 50+ years of his life. He worked to help others with their recovery and frequently spoke to groups and on the radio. I remember a statement he made about alcoholism and if you could ever be "better," no longer an alcoholic.

"A cucumber is a cucumber, but once you turn it into a pickle, you can't turn it back into a cucumber."

Granted this thread is held together by the fact that unencumbered and cucumber happen to rhyme, one leading me to think of the other and my grandfather's quote, but what else are you going to string your thoughts together with?

The point is influence, is the encumbered nature of our waking thoughts. Unencumbered (the cucumber state) is almost impossible and maybe not even desirable, but maybe we can be mindful of the influences that shape our thoughts.

Only very slowly does my thought swim across the river,
Weighed down as it is by the suit men forced it to wear.

That is a line I read this morning by Fernando Pessoa, which seemed to connect a bunch of disparate threads.

Fucking suits, the encumbered nature of our waking thoughts, which will be more concerned with straightening their ties and shining their shoes if we don't let them ramble, to see where they'll drift.

Back in the marsh across the street, the river got shallow, came together and was easier to cross through clumps of tall grasses. We took boards we found and made foot bridges so we could get across to the shore on the other side.

No comments: