Saturday, February 11, 2006

Balance in White

It's snowing. Fat white flakes that float instead of fall, and cover everything in a blanket of insulated white. There aren't too many things in this world more beautiful than freshly-fallen snow. The whole of everything looks clean and new and soft. This is only the third snow of the year, but, since it's into February, it's probably one of the last.

I'm looking out my window, watching miniature drifts peak along the picket fence, contemplating the future, and movement, and stagnation. Life seems to be hovering on a precipice, waiting for the slightest breeze to tilt the balance just a little... just enough.

I was bustling around my little house today, tidying up from the renovations that are in progress, doing normal, mundane, domestic things. I've been here for five years, last October, not counting the 12 months I spent in the Gulf. It's the longest I've ever lived anywhere in my life. This is home for me... at least, the closest thing to home I've ever known. I'm finding peace here, in my little house on the prairie. School and life and work and home.



Anonymous said...

Balance is a great thing. It can be most satisfying when life is emerging from chaos, from unsettled disorder, and the process of bringing your life back into balance coincides with returning some semblance of structure to existence. To use a somewhat nerdy metaphor, it is a lot like lifting your life up, imbuing it with potential energy. While it's possible simply to drop it again, releasing that energy in a satisfying 'thump', there's greater fascination in being creative - using intellect and elbow grease in a sort of engineering that can convert that energy into something even better. Falling weights can drive ancient, ornate clocks, for instance, or propel Pinewood Derby cars just quickly enough to claim a valuable prize.

Yet balance isn't always enough. There are times when imbalance can be not just exciting, but intoxicating. I'm reminded of the entry 'The Speed of Obsession', and being caught up, whirled out of balance on a maelstrom of emotional and physical activity. Even when obsession turns bad, when you're pining and confused, there can still be that sense that you're feeling alive in a way that simple balance can never match.

After a while, you realize the truth lies somewhere between - roller-coasters are exciting, but you can't live on a roller-coaster. It's the terror of being out of control that helps make regaining your balance seem so comforting and pleasant, and the stability of being in control that adds fire to a sudden decision to leap back into the flames; the knowledge that there's a warm bed and a stout roof on shore that makes it all the more tempting to swim out and brave the undertow.

Ideally, you can be master enough of your own life to know exactly when to push toward the edge - how far out of balance you can go before pulling yourself back. If my own experience is any guide, then you're going to miscalculate sometimes - so perhaps it's even better to have people around who care; people who are stable and certain enough to be able to pluck you out of the whirlpool and help bring you back to the shore when it's needed.

I'm glad to see that your life is moving back toward balance, yet I smile when I think that it seems very possible that, even in the midst of that admirable progress, you still hear the siren call of the waves and wonder...


Mouth said...

Good call. There's no doubt that once I've had a chance to catch my breath, I'll be back in the pit throwin down.

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