|Lauren Artess and Naseem Rakha, Fetzer Institute, 2010|
Windswept encounters. Little jewels of life.
Yet, here we four are in a house overlooking Tomales Bay, a geologic nexus where the North American and Pacific Plates merge.
|Shell Beach State Park, Tomales Bay - Point Reyes|
We spent last night catching up on each others' lives. The turns in our relationships, the struggles of our work, the causticness of the publishing world, the mechanization of creativity, the pain and preciousness of this time—caught between life's three great changes—the fading of our parents, the blossoming of our children, and then our own dance with change—the new aches, the temperamental chemistry, the flux of moods. And, most worrying, the wavering capacity of memory.
Each of us notice our mind's latest gaffs: the conversations we swore we've never had, the growing accumulation of words which sit on "the tip of the tongues", the lost items, forgotten names, faces, phone numbers, birthdays.
"What was it that woman said to us about this wine?" Alison asked as she pours me a glass of Petite Sirah. The woman she speaks of is a sommelier we had only just met a few hours before at a market in Point Reyes Station. She was incredibly knowledgable, and had many keen words to describe the taste and structure of wine. We talked with her for about a half hour, pressing her like writers tend. And yet, there Alison and I were just a few hours later, unable to remember a word of what the wine woman had said. We laughed about it, blaming the gaps in our memory on the hormonal meham of menopause. But I couldn't help but worry.
|Jennifer Louden and Alison Luterman, Fetzer Inst, 2010|
Self-consciousness is often considered something negative, associated with conceit and confused with self-absorption. But I wonder if the world isn't in need of more fully, self-conscious people: individuals who are aware of how what they think and say and do impacts others? Wouldn't the world be better in some big and important way? Kinder maybe? More considerate, at least? Maybe not. But certainly memory and self-reflection are the bones of our identity. Without these elements, what are we? That is what I, sitting on the edge of the San Andreas Fault on this fine spring morning, want to know.
|Jennifer Louden, Alison Luterman, Lauren Artress and Naseem Rakha|
at Point Reyes National Seashore, 3/1/14
At least, if memory serves....
-Naseem Rakha 2/29/14 (oops, no such date....)
Wow, so beautifully written.ReplyDelete
I love this essay and the precious pictures of faces and places I remember so well from our time at Seasons, the retreat center at Fetzer.ReplyDelete
Sounds like you enjoyed a lovely rhythm of connecting conversations, writing, exercise and connection to nature. Perfect.
Memory will serve. And when it doesn't, what could be better than days like these?