Wednesday, April 13, 2016

the things in the room

Like a curtain hanging in the window of an emptied building ... and being idly towseled by a passing current, there are memories that hang and billow and seem to have no particular context. They simply are and they are gentle, but they seem to have no object for their kindness. They are just kind and the daylight plays within them.

Such, perhaps, is a line I once read in a book about psychology. My teen-aged years were a wracked time and I read a lot of psychology in hopes of annuling the raw cruelties of my time.

I would have been 15 when I read the line -- perhaps from a book called "Language and Schizophrenia," but perhaps not -- attributed to a "patient." The line stuck with me and towseled me and to this day, I do not know why it qualified the speaker as a "patient." No doubt there was a context that I failed to remember. But maybe not. Psychology aficionados tend to be a little crazy themselves so maybe the "patient's" line simply didn't jibe or towsel in tune with the interviewer's window frame.

Anyway, the line was: "The air is still, here -- the air between the things in the room. But the things themselves are no longer here."

Needless to say, all the psychology books I read when I was 15 and 16 didn't do much to make me more sane, but I am grateful that that single line attached itself like some bold limpet to my memory. Its soft fluttering, whether sane or crazy, lingers and lulls me... luffing, fluttering, waving hello or perhaps goodbye.

Before the rising of the linguists and etymologists, what a good word "ephemeral" is.

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