For some reason, I kept this word in my head all night as a blog idea. ‘Proximity’. And now, I’m not sure what I was thinking about. Keeping ideas close by seems to be more and more difficult as I age. I am working on re-writing a piece for a magazine memoirs contest. I have bits of a puzzle, snippets and scenes and questions from the past that I’m trying to work together in 1200 words or less. How do I keep an idea near at hand in this maze? I started humming a song while doing the breakfast dishes. My mind is fixed on a video of Mandy Patinkin in Sunday in the Park with George singing “Putting It Together” — Having just the vision’s no solution/everything depends on execution/the art of making art/ is putting it together.
Here in proximity floats my past, visions of Jim and the kids, emotions of fear and sadness, questions of destiny and salvation. I have to escape to the present occasionally, get into my body, do something ordinary like make a meal. I am making turkey stock right now. The bare bones simmer away with chunks of onion and carrot and herbs. Is this how I will write my book?
Margins, edges where things come together, are rich places of biodiversity on the earth. Wendell Berry writes in Home Economics:
“The human eye itself seems drawn to such margins, hungering for the difference made in the countryside by a hedgy fencerow, a stream, or a grove of trees.”
I suppose I am hungering for the differences in life, longing to live in proximity to those places where life happens in all its majesty and danger, and aching to observe and record some epiphanies. Not that the recording matters. The living is what matters.