A lifetime of stored images and associations rearrange and reassemble, feeding you an ever-changing slideshow of your past and future, a streaming reconfiguration of puzzle pieces, moments, feelings, pictures, faces, smells, wounds, joy, tenderness, agony, what you ate for breakfast that day, how you spotted a woodpecker in the backyard and pointed it out to someone else’ s child, the way the mud caked around the sole of your boots, the dim light in the pub where you first heard the terrible news, the time you lifted something empty thinking it was going to be heavy and it flew right out of your hands.
Flipping channels now, new job, new house, new dishwasher, new haircut, new salary, new school, new stamina, new relationship, new patience, new trips you will take, new savings accounts, new certainty, new settledness, new and improved, this future–or on the other hand, dire and anxiety-riddled, provoking panic attacks near the old train tracks by the water.
The future will not be televised, except in the mind, no matter how hard you may will it into being. Ditto for the past, damnit, no matter how the pictures and feelings flood your chest, seize your breath. So you can either keep running–away from or towards–or you can sit on the back steps, stop worrying about the fact that this isn’t your house and you don’t know where you are going to land, stop asking how you’re going to do it, any of it, life. Because this is you doing it. This is you living. Breathing. Sitting still, feeling the sun on your face. The sun on your face. The sun on your face.
Image: Elisabeth Linn, “The Back Steps”