it is 1 a.m. i am on my way upstairs to bed. i reach under the lampshade and turn out the light, a motion i have engaged in a thousand thousand times before, without thinking. as i do so, i look out the living room window. i am struck. this exists. i think of every time i have not acted in my life, not stood up, not thought, not felt, not breathed, not taken the picture, not written the poem, not stepped outside my boundaries to be present. with great respect and recognition, i thought of donna telling me (on another post the other day) of this:
I was driving home a few nights ago around 11 p.m. The sky was clear and the air was crisp. A part of me longed to find an open field where I could stand in the night and feel my puniness, the speck-of-dust space of my existence. But it was late and I was expected home. But it was late and my trajectory was already set: mom’s house to home, point A to point B, my safe world. My one world.
Approaching an intersection, the wet pavement reflecting the lights of gas stations, street lights and stop lights, I imagined the vast grid of streets that continued far out of my sight and my vehicle, antlike, following its programmed route.
I didn’t find a field. I didn’t even pull over to look at the sky. To deviate was unthinkable. almost. But telling it, it becomes a possibility not taken.
(my bold and underscore.)
i tell myself, erin, you must always, always choose to deviate. always the field exists. screw whoever or whatever you think is waiting.
i take the picture.