Once in a while and more so lately, the ghost of who I was comes for a visit. For a while I did not know he was the sadness. Now I welcome his conversation. Our sadness is that I am not him. He is an afterimage, a layer of gauze in a stack. He has important things to tell me about our differences. He tells me to “be careful there!” But I leapt where he stumbled.
Often we think that finding clarity is the result of a process of distillation, and that brilliance is seeing complexity simply; the (!) in “Eureka!” I believe clarity is seeing what was, is, and could be, and uncovering truths in their relationships. This is not an exclamation; it is music; it has length.
Case in point: Yesterday I looked up through the leaves and was shot by the sun. I did not have a revelation; I was blinded. It left an afterimage; a white blurry thing that moved with my eyes; my own sundog. Big ideas are sometimes like that; their revelation is beyond what seemed clear. Once you have one, it leaves a blurry spot in your vision. It replaces clarity with possibility, there wherever you turn and whatever your focus.
I invite other ghosts. In a place, what was, remains. Its fabric whispers. I visited a place where we will build a new school, one day five months ago. That place asks me still over any distance, “What am I and what should I become?” Its afterimage became a consciousness that visits me. I cannot provide its answer and I can help it to become.
We are foolish to think we can ever scrape ourselves clean; could ever scrape a place clean. But the bulldozers come and that is the first thing we try; to scrape and pile to the side what was there. The hubris, the ego, the misguided heroism of that! And the disrespect. Life and making are overlaid on what was, always. To recognize this is to understand and finally to create, harmony.
If we listen and help each other and each place become what it wants to be, the world will sing.