July 5, 2010
Postcard from Now
Now I have the house to myself. You left
for work this morning. Now, I have time
to finish my laundry, load the dishwasher,
and write. Now I remember the pleasure
of folding warm clothes: tucking socks together,
embracing warm towels, emptying a basket. Now,
the house is quiet, except for the clatter
of clothes in the dryer, the click of my fingers
on the keys. I have been waiting for now
all morning, all week. I have wasted now
up until now, sleeping and working, eating
and dreaming. I am now trying to only
eat my watermelon and salt, a habit
I inherited from my father. I am trying not
to remember my childhood picnics, sugar
dripping down my chin and into the grass. Now,
I am only trying to taste the watermelon,
its white pips, the salt. I say to myself: sweet,
salt, sweet, salt, as if repeating this mantra
will remind me of what I am doing. I am too
easily distracted now, not only by the taste
of my food, but my expectation of its taste
before I eat and the memory of my taste when I finish.
Now, is too easy and too difficult. Now is slipping
away from me now, into the new now of emptying
the next load of laundry and waiting for your return.
July 5, 2010
Now I know: time moves by too quickly. I know that now, after learning that summers no longer extend for years on end. They are gone in a flash. After all, it’s already July.
Tonight, we couldn’t remember what we did on the last Fourth of July. Was that the year we made pineapple cocktails and stumbled to the roof or the year we watched movies, while I was on crutches? Was it the year I wasn’t even in the country, when I missed it all? All of our holidays dissolved into a sugary mess, a pile of snapshots covered in melted s’mores and watermelon juice.
Someday, we will want to remember this evening, this moment, amongst the others. We will only have this picture to remind us.
July 5, 2010
The root of mindfulness in a creative practice, in my mind, is in sensory awareness. For the first five days, I will be focusing on visual awareness. In this week, I will be making postcards, inspired by the work of Dave Bonta and Dana Guthrie Martin at the now defunct Postal Poetry and the many creative folks who collaborate at habit.
One of the key components of mindfulness is the ability to experience life as it happens. In Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh writes:
“Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture or reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a ceremony, a rite.”
It’s easy enough to plan for mindfulness. One can plan for meditation practice, solitude of breathing exercises. However, it’s an entirely different level of difficulty to practice mindfulness in everyday life.
For this postcard, I will not plan a specific time to be mindful and aware. Instead, I will wait for a time in which I experienced mindfulness naturally. This moment will become the basis for my creative product. For this “postcard from now”, I won’t necessarily need to take a picture. I can use any artistic medium at my disposal to create my postcard.