Monday, March 5, 2012
Flooding, With a Chance of Clouds
I'm feeling a bit unfocused these days. I have decided that this is because I have overflowed my personal channels, and I am flowing all over the open field right now.
Channels are wonderful things -- they give you a sense of direction, and they focus your energy so that you can make yourself useful. Channels also carry you to a set destination, whether you intended to go there or not.
The biggest channels have been carved out over many years. They are well traveled, well mapped, and well used. If you don't especially care where you end up, or if your destination is the same as everyone else's, a big channel is the way to go. All the amenities are there, you never get lost, and no one questions your decision to take the main route. You can count on lots of company and lots of travel advice.
If you're a bit more particular, side channels can take you to some interesting places. It's a bit more work, since the channels are narrower, and they may be overgrown with vegetation. You're more likely to get lost, and you can't count on restocking your supplies or finding a dry place to sleep. Still, chances are that someone has been there before you, and you will probably encounter a fellow explorer now and then. People might think you a bit quirky, but still within the realm of "normal".
Leaving the channels entirely is a bit less well defined. It's hard to answer when someone asks, "How are you doing?" "I'm all over the place right now, thanks" elicits curious stares and concerns for your well-being. Leaving the channels is how the field gets irrigated, but it's also how the village gets flooded. Leaving the channels erases the guarantee of a destination. Becoming one with the soil so that a plant can take you in and exhale you into the air is hard to frame in goal-oriented terms. There aren't a lot of job postings for philosophers in Washington, DC. How do you set a base salary for journeys of introspection?
Eventually, the water droplets covering the field rise up and join others of their kind a cloud. Droplets in the cloud eventually condense and fall back to the earth, finding their way into different channels than the ones they left. Different destinations, different work to do along the way.
So -- I'm not writing as much these days, or reading as much either, for that matter (although I have stepped up the reading a bit recently). I'm doing more needlework, cooking better meals, taking longer walks. I'm taking care of little household projects that have been on my do-list for years. I don't have the weekly routine that used to remind me that today is laundry day, or bill-paying day, or grocery day, so I have to pay attention and make sure that I do these things when they need to be done. I don't just run a quick errand on the way home from work, so running that errand requires a special trip and the time involved in making that trip. I'm unstructured, not moving forward, feeling unproductive -- and not minding it (much). I have great faith that eventually I will find another channel, another destination. Spending a little time in a cloud is a great way to get an overview of the landscape below.