Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Presence


"Everything gets a bit foggy on the eve of a journey, even a journey so habitual that it ends in a workroom much like this one. You have to force yourself to be fully where you are until the last moment, not to succomb to the sensation of having already left before you’ve left. You work, you go out to buy something, you write for a while, lie down for a siesta and don’t manage to sleep, you repeat the gestures of every day, but there’s a twinge in the stomach, a kind of vertigo threaded through daily things, like that step you trip over as you fall asleep".

Some very Buddhist words [my very quick translation] from Antonio Munoz Molina, about to fly from Madrid to New York, where he lives and works for part of each year. He captures the difficulty and necessity of staying 'fully where you are': if we aren’t present, we aren’t truly alive. Not that I’m physically taking off for anywhere, but there's a similar sensation when the mind is always on the next thing, the thing undone that should be done, when time rages and you're lost and at its mercy. "Everything gets foggy" – indeed. The small, stolen moments of observation for writing my ‘small stones’ are a breath of sanity and presence. So are the very precious moments of taking photographs. No time to describe what a scene like this, through a dirty pane of glass, made me feel. Scarcely time to feel it. But time, sometimes, to capture it visually.

4 comments:

Leslee said...

This is wonderful, Jean. I've been so anxious lately, not wanting to be where I am, my mind racing to push me to find a way out. Yet here I am in this ever-present moment. Writing small stones and photographing definitely help.

Taradharma said...

this post captures that restless so well. Now I'm going to pick up A River of Stones and try to be fully in the moment. Thank you.

Beth said...

I too am very grateful for these small practices. It's a beautiful, enigmatic photograph, Jean.

rr said...

What an absolutely tremendous picture. Their shadows! Everything.