This week might be just another week to you, but for me it is the week after the week that ended the first academic quarter, and with so little time and energy to write, I decided to try a 20 minute essay this time, to just compose and revise until the kitchen timer went off…
The gaps between tasks are fertile. Weeds growing there—the fortuitous meeting with a stranger, a flame-tinged leaf floating to your feet, eavesdropped children—find a place to be and, being, thrive. Sometimes a stem stretches four ways until it locates the sun and then flowers. Sometimes a seed in just enough dirt grows into a tree, its roots strong enough to break stones around it.
A day flush with tasks accommodates no weeds. It’s smooth and seamless and allows no opening for accident. Its assembly brings satisfactions—neatness, productivity, completion—but little to remember. It’s every worker’s wish to begin a job and wake to find it done, with no reluctant or fitful will to prod or flog, but that’s the tale of the golden spool, the boy who’s given golden string and told unspooling a little will advance minutes and hours and days over rough spots. He finds the string, and his life, soon gone and nothing to remember.
Somehow the little spaces encourage memory. Someone told a story about an escaped parrot impossible to forget. Someone touched your shoulder and left with a word of encouragement. Someone sighed. Each seems itself because it’s nothing else, not part of an hour or day but a moment growing alone.
Unlikely life. The inevitable has a plan as relentless as ticking, but the good fortune of an idle instant comes of different fate, chance and luck and serendipity. You pause between two errands, and an errand bigger than both visits you, the thought you hadn’t had time to consider, a connection so long half-made, last night’s dream explaining itself, the right course at last, a dim image surfacing from deep memories, sweet and sour love felt in full.
The gaps are times for notebooks. Though weeds—by definition—aren’t planted, they need to be appreciated, recorded as miracles.