Monday, September 27, 2010

"A poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember."

Since it was Ambrose's birthday on Saturday I was committed to do what I always want to and never get around to, which is write and post pictures about events like that.

To do this I needed to find some pictures, and that pulled me into a black hole of compulsion searching through, transferring and organizing ten years' worth of photos. That reminded me about my music files which also were out of order and I ended up deleting and redoing my iTunes Music Library, which still confuses me, four times.

I've been slipping into a lot of compulsive states like these the past two weeks, something that happens to me sometimes. When it does I'm forgetting my life is made up of more than disorganized files and stove burners that might have been left on. At these times those things seem very urgent.

When I get a glimpse of what life is really like, moving, a film reel, a spinning dial, deep ocean currents, my mind doesn't know what to do with it and grabs onto anything it can pin down. Files that can be labeled and stored in other files. Coffee machines that have, for sure, not been left plugged in.

In the previous post I tried to describe this feeling as it relates to thinking about my son, a sensation of something jumping in my chest, pulling at me, too fast and too forcefully to be pinned down. It strikes me this quote from American Beauty does it way better:

"My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain."

I don't always get past the balloon part. Sometimes it feels like a hole has been blown open in my chest and and my children's childhoods are getting sucked through it way too fast. I try and grab onto things to stop the current and I can't. Ezra and Ambrose eating olives for breakfast on the camping trip I took them on when my marriage to their mother was breaking up; breathless visions from the Black Hills; kids' birthdays and pictures of Ambrose climbing a climbing wall; these are photographs currently trapped in a broken hard drive from my other house, two years' worth. When I recover these pictures there will be something else I'm desperate to retrieve.

I try to accept the anxiety of every anxious moment. Sometimes I can even accept the stupid things I did and bad states I fell into, the times I felt punished simply for being the way I was made. I accept these things because they are payment for the reward of knowing my children and watching the past go like tears in rain.

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