the way something shiny looks under water, viewed from the shore

A continuation from last week (unpublished); always on about words, words.

Waking up from an idea or a notion of something like it was a sleep-dream; acknowledging that your perception was distorted or not informed enough, and being okay with it, it’s fine. So you adjust your perception— we do it all the time. It’s adaptation. This kind of shifting is necessary for navigating the densely populated waking world. In dreams it happens automatically. It’s what makes dreams so fluid. In a dream, perception is all there is, no other ‘realities’ against which to check it. It’s why you never feel lost unless lost is the point of the dream. Out here, the shiftings can make you feel suddenly adrift, make you question yourself. As in the Transtromer poem Vermeer, “Passing through walls hurts human beings, they get sick from it, but we have no choice.”

It’s valuable, though, to be able to see multiple sides of things; all possible outcomes, as in chess. A skill to hone not only to cultivate diplomacy, but a diminished capacity for disappointment as well. This is something one must do for oneself; no one else can do it for you.

Words are useful to create the base of a clear perception, but they are only a fraction of the whole. Actions, reactions, arcs, and patterns are all very telling. Can be minutiae. In aggregate, observations can make plain what words don’t, or can’t. And then there is the deeper layer, mostly obscured— motivations, intentions. The Why of things. They are murky and multilayered; often one’s own motivations are not even clear to oneself until seen at a distance, hindsight.

A constant stream of small revelations, the compounding of details; things created by omissions, like when the negative space in a photograph looks like an object instead of an emptiness. The walls are built of these. At some point, they reach critical mass and just like that— a wall. You pass through. You can choose to do it on the spot, or you can try to avoid it, but one way or another you’ll wind up on the other side. No good to get dragged kicking, better to run through; live deliberately.

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