What passes and what does not
Sometimes there seems nothing to do but look up and behold the sky. Because this earth of ours, at least what we can see of it, has become so unbearable to look at.
It groans and it moves not, and it lies wracked, replete in the consequences of its remorseless wrongdoing. This earth of ours, what did we do to it? What did we beget? Who did we beget? Who we did beget has now gotten us. And what we did beget is part of the ugliness. But not all of it. We are too. And what we did to it, this earth of ours is now doing unto us. That, in short, is what this is all about.
Call it revenge. Call it reprisal. Call it correction. It has come from what we did not do right. We must understand this, though at the best of times and the worst of times and the times that lie betwixt, we do not understand. Or refuse to. We must understand actions have consequences. Try spitting into the sky and wait for what happens next. Or try spitting into the ground. Oh no, no, please do not. That now is by law forbidden and it has finite financial consequences for you and infinite epidemiological consequences for others. Please don’t spit. It will pass. I promise.
Not everything passes. Or promises to. The state of waking does not pass. And then when it lapses upon itself and can remain the state of waking no more, the state of stupor does not pass. One state fuses into another, dying into it, being born of it, but it does not pass. Meantime, other things pass, other things are always passing. You may think they’ve come to stand still, but be not deluded. Other things are passing, and in their passing you are passing too while it may seem, in this delusion of a standstill, that everything is still and nothing is passing. Things are passing, and you are passing too.
A candle’s not a flame alone, it is the passing of wick and wax. A river isn’t water alone, it’s silt and stone in the wash. More things pass than just a flame, or just a river. Even though they do not seem to pass. When time passes, it isn’t the ticking in the clock alone; when time passes, it softens wood, and grinds the ramparts of forts. When time passes, it shifts mountains and it alters the colours of leaves. In the beginning of time, it peppered grass with the sound of its passing and you could hear grass grow and then fall silent because it was growing no longer and had fallen upon itself. That was how time passes on what it once gave the sound of singing.
But that’s not where we are. All of that passed, and kept on passing, and all of that passing has brought us where we are. Where we are still saying some things pass and some things do not pass at all. And we begin to miss most of what passes and we begin to get agitated and impatient about most things that do not pass. Oh, when will this pass? When you wait upon a passing, it does not tend to pass; when you let it pass, it often does. Like a train upon a platform it was never meant to stop. Or it will come to halt and you’ll ask again, oh when will this one pass? The train you won’t take passes, the train you would does often not arrive because it awaits the passing of other trains. And so it is on platforms, some things pass and some things do not because they haven’t yet arrived. And the waiting between one and another might make you wonder again, what is it that passes and what is it that does not? And why is it that some things pass and some things pass not. Behold the sky, and wonder. The spill of cloud. The flock of geese. The swirls of dust. The trail of jet fuel. And then, forever beyond them, the unpassing vacancy we call blue. Some things pass and some do not.
What we thought a cloud
It turns out was a shroud
And I was a deeper fool
That I saw fields of cotton wool.