The blank slate

I composed a whole entry in my head on the way to work this morning. It dealt with loss and the human capacity for sorrow. It dealt with that first crushing blow that snaps back the curtain the innocent keep between themselves and the dirt of this world.

In my mind, a child has a magic carpet of sorts, a blank sheet of unlined pages unfurled across decades and eons. So much potential and hope. Imagine that inverted. Imagine turning that inside out and seeing the huge cavern life can be - a gaping hole with sorrow lapping over the edges. Look into the eyes of a child and recognize the hope there for Something Big. Then imagine those depths being the future holders of grief.

I imagine an American child standing next to children of the same age from war ravaged nations: Rwanda, Palestine, Afghanistan, Israel, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. The blank sheet has burned for them, yet that American child climbs it freely.

The gauge begins at birth and somewhere along the line, we stretch to hold all that we gather along our paths in life. That's our possibility. We live and die alone, yet together we are currents of pain and hope. The yin-yang of human emotion flowing constantly across our shores, yet never quite drowning us.

In my mind this morning, this thought process reminded me of Adrienne Riche's poem, North American Time. The poem is one of my favorites and truly speaks to community. But, this morning, it sang to me of all that we hold now, all that we have the potential to hold, and how different it is from that blank sheet stretching across time.

Try sitting at a typewriter
one calm summer evening
at a table by a window
in the country, try pretending
your time does not exist
that you are simply you
that the imagination simply strays
like a great moth, unintentional
try telling yourself
you are not accountable
to the life of your tribe
the breath of your planet

I can't exactly pinpoint the connection between my stream of consciousness and Rich's stunning verse. I just wanted to share.

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