The past week of giving up verbosity has caused me to linger in experiences that I can't immediately (or perhaps ever) express in words, things I'd usually react to with floods of text in an attempt to understand or at least capture the experience. Instead, I'm forced to stay in myself, boiling that running sap down into a thicker syrup, watching data vaporize. It's tough to throw food away when you're used to starvation; I grew up deaf and with a fear of information scarcity, a constant worry of losing my conversations with the world. I equate silence with death. If I don't constantly hear from someone, I fear they're lost forever; I have no way to hear their footsteps and look up if they return. It's a fear I don't need, a pattern I can unravel; silence is not death, it is silence -- what's silence, then? Leave room for that to grow.
I've been working on Operation RTW-ABD-Polyglot these past few months, a quest to travel the world achieving conversational fluency in multiple languages (possibly post-cochlear-implant) while writing my PhD dissertation. It's both inspiring and disconcerting; the more I work on it, the more I feel called to work on it... and the less I actually want it. This is supposed to be my dream, writing my way around the world, exploding out my universe with languages, my childhood wishes of freedom all made flesh in one intensely fruitful year. I'm going for it, mind you; I'm steadily working towards actually doing this. And yet I find myself looking more and more to the end of the trail, to an unexpected thought quietly standing there: then maybe I could finally come home.
I don't know what that means. I always want to choose the bigger universe.
The bigger universe to share. Being alone in an infinite universe is either insanity or hell. My solo climbs encounter Mason jars of water, which I refill and leave in turn -- not leaving my mark, just leaving things as they should be. I found the Mason jars in a poem called "Faith" by Ann McNeal; I found the poem on a countertop while dancing in a tiny hall by the railroad tracks.
You don’t remember it, my children
the endless trek across the dry places
the lone tree with a pump beneath
a few handfuls of grass greening.
One clear Mason jar full of water.
Stop! You must not drink a drop.
This is what you don’t know—
You must pour it all down the shaft
your parched mouth watching it disappear
into the workings below, the leather cuffs
and steel pistons. Then you pump.
The steel shrieks and groans.
Nothing comes. Despair closes
your throat. Keep pumping.
More resistance now
your arm protests
then great gushes
speed over your hands
cool your feet
open your throat.
In the end you must fill the jar.
Leave it for the next traveler.