Friday, November 29, 2019


I woke up around 5:30 the other morning, unfortunately a pretty common occurrence. As I lay awake the usual litany of concerns and anxieties mounted and crested. ("In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning," wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was just in a different time zone.) I got out of bed and walked quietly through the house, the chairs and tables materializing out of the semi-dark, various LED lights like calm fish under water. I looked out our kitchen window, which faces northeast, and a glimmer of sunlight was lifting over the tree line. And here's why this utterly ordinary moment mattered to me: unbidden, I thought of another person in my place, two hundred, three hundred, eight hundred years ago, standing quietly but embroiled in internal anxieties, watching the sun come up. A sense of peace and calm came over me, as I was both humbled and rendered, for a moment, universal, or eternal. Not me, but a person. Not Joe but a human. Pettiness lifted. Concerns lifted. I became a silhouette and for that brief moment that was all that I needed.

Photo by Li-Ji.

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