The stone is given its existence; it need not fight for being what it is–a stone in the field. Man has to be himself in spite of unfavorable circumstances; that means he has to make his own existence at every single moment. He is given the abstract possibility of existing, but not the reality. This he has to conquer hour after hour. Man must earn his life, not only economically but metaphysically. — Ortega.
I was reading this on the train. Or maybe it was the subway.
Maybe I had already gotten down to 14th street. Maybe I was listening to Brahms, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I felt like I was turning a corner on my eyelid and pulling it out, methodically, like when I was a child. So much to hold onto, in one eyelash.
When I feel like coming to the center of something, almost like jumping in front of god-knows-what, or falling from the last thing hunger made you do.
I could have been reading something else, but I wasn’t. It could have been
raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining
in the desert. And I could have had to pitch an A-frame tent. And I could have spent the last 25 hours lying beside a water-trail, waiting for animals to pass before seeing my chest rise up and down. I could have been leaving bruises on my shins.
Burning a cigarette into the arm to see what it felt like.
I could have been learning to make a fire from wood and stone.
But at this time in my life, I was just reading on the train, listening to Brahms.
I don’t have to know why I run from learning stillness. Stillness is learning me.
And circling inside this, what I said I loved before, and forgot.