I’ve been sitting at the computer quite a bit lately. The writing opportunities have been picking up, so in the intervals between dropping you off and picking you up from school, I sit at the keyboard, pecking away and staring into the glow of the screen until my eyes cry for mercy and I’m forced to look away for few seconds. Every time I gaze off to the left of the screen I see a poem that I have taped against the bookcase. It’s a short grouping of words authored by my cousin who passed away nearly two years ago. The cousin whose name the youngest of you bears.
The poem is called “In A Moment,” and it reads:
Perception is varied
It is nature to form decipherable figures
Familiarity amongst the indistinguishable shapes
That make up the clouds
But is the undetermined knowable features
That make the imagination exist
Beyond the explainable
Perhaps it is all illusion
Just visions changing in the wind
So fast as to be lost
In a moment
I’m not sure why my eyes always shift to the poem. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never really fully comprehended it’s meaning. Over time however, the more I think about what I don’t know to be true about this poem, the more I start to understand the line that reads “but it is the undetermined knowable features that make the imagination exist.”
It brings me comfort to imagine my cousin positioned on a mountaintop at sunrise, as he often was, watching the wind manipulate the clouds and the light alter his perspective of the landscape below, briefly recognizing shapes and colors as having intrinsic meaning or attachment to memories and experiences past. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the mountaintop with him, watching the dancing particles morph the patterns, and attempting to decipher some basic truth from the ever-shifting figures.
After a minute or so ticks by, the glow of the computer screen shifts to black because of my lapse in productivity, and I’m removed from my mental vacation. I shake the mouse to bring back the glow, and start tapping out symbols and spaces to form coherent and concrete structures. My moment of varied perception has passed.
I’m writing this to you for a reason, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. I want you to find it. I want you to cling to what is familiar about my words, and let your imaginations go to work. Perhaps it’s all illusion, and there’s nothing to be gained. Maybe it’s just about the moments spent with words and phrases that I’ve used in prior contexts- words and phrases that whisk you away to alternate times and places. Whatever it is, it’s temporary. Take from these words what you can, and make them matter to you, even if you don’t know why they matter, and even if that meaning is lost in a moment.