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witching hour thoughts

This weekend has been a respite of the mind and soul. While much of it was spent simply doing adult work – laundry, cleaning the house, taking my cat outside and playing with her – they were all generously slow and simple. There was nothing particularly complex about anything I did, and that’s what was spectacular.
This is something I’m sure the older among you will recognize. The joy of a simple day seems an understated one, but something I can’t imagine living long without.

And I got two! What a lucky thing for me.

Of course, even where the water’s calmest, there’s still life below the surface. While I was absorbed in the enjoyment of these simple things, I still thought. But the benefit of calming the water first is you get a much better look at things.

So, though I thought, I thought clearly and calmly. There was no fear or hurriedness about the thoughts; they came and were given space and time. Makes me think of a story from the Chuangtzu to which I’ve forgotten the details, but goes something like this:

When I first was a student, I would sit silently and wait, and never did the master look on me.
Then, when I asked a question for the first time, he looked sideways at me and gave me a smile.
Soon I found that I would speak of what was on my mind and he would laugh with me.
Finally, I let my thoughts come as they would and spoke of them freely, and he welcomed me.

Not very accurate in terms of the telling, but the ideas are there. There’s an acceptance in just letting our minds speak without placing judgement on the thoughts it produces.

I’m by no means a sage, but I am sure that’s how my thoughts came this weekend. A continual flow like a river; never saying but always speaking.

I’ve also gotten to thinking of where I stand with philosophy now. It’s been almost a year since I came to boulder for my studies, and in that time desire to pursue the discipline has waned. Despite that, I still find myself contemplating no different than Aristotle or Hume, time to time.

I know there’s nothing that demands an interest be pursued professionally for it to be worth anything, but I can sometimes fall back into that thinking. Such is the case with philosophy, after what felt like such a burning by its hands.

But I take issues still with two things here. One: I had long suspected analytic writing was not a goal of mine. Not only did I find it tedious often, but restricting. A fair assessment as it’s aim is to restrain the writer from flourishes, asking only for the facts.

Two: I do not think the discipline betrayed or lied to me at any time. It was and still is one of my saviors in this life. Who I am today only grew due to philosophy’s influence.

The problem comes down, mainly, to me believing I am somehow less intelligent for it, or somehow mistaken for thinking I ever could do it. I don’t fret much about if I’m smart or not anymore, it’s trivial in the end, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying if I’m smart enough. It’s a subtle shifting, but one that still stalls progress.

My thoughts have lately turned to this anxiety when I find myself philosophizing now, questioning if I’m smart enough to be spouting such things. Are my thoughts worth the paper they’re printed on?

And I truthfully can’t tell you. I’m sure I can say some pretty head-scratching stuff now and then. whether from wisdom or ignorance, both receive the same response. Makes me think of this:

I heard of a saint who had loved you
So I studied all night in his school
He taught that the duty of lovers
Is to tarnish the golden rule

And just when I was sure that his teachings were pure
He drowned himself in the pool
His body is gone but back here on the lawn
His spirit continues to drool

Anyway, it’s 1am for me and I have work in the morning, so this will be short. Whether we got anywhere or wandered in a circle is up to you. As always, a thank you for reading:

From the window
a cool breeze
wood fire smoke


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