To focus on distance

There’s a piece about getting older where everyone seems to get a bit further away. Their lives become more dense and who they are as a person also takes on a more facetted quality; stories that they tell, that I used to only take as lighthouses of past experiences, now become a throbbing electrical pulse in the present. We are all kites crashed in windstorms, string tangled around a 1000 trees. 

And there’s this piece to me that pushes back against this thought, because I want to be someone that thinks we are all close to those we love. But I think that in some ways, love that is strongest is love that is aware of distance. This, of course, comes off as a little self congratulatory as I am married to someone who lives 3000 miles away (it may be more… probably not less), but I think this is just a coincidence of external circumstances coming into line with an internal state, much like two cars at a stoplight who have a blinker that enjoy the same downbeat, periodically. 

Although I love being congratulated, love at a distance doesn’t refer to something long-distance itself, but instead refers to love that is aware of the space between the people involved. I’ve always said that love is the absolute measure between two people, a unit-less number like a ratio, and I think some of the pleasure of how we love people is knowing that we can love equally or more people that are emotionally or physically far away.

When first meeting people we have the sensation of always being able to move closer, but there is a point where language and physicality find their own Planck distance, and there is no way to have the sensation of being “closer”; but yet we can still love more. 

I think understanding that we can see how far we are from being the same as someone, but love them closer than anyone before, speaks to the way we can find satisfaction in the abyss between individuals: the divide that guarantees I don’t wake up some day and think I am someone that I’m close to.  I think the problem is that we sometimes think of the abyss as a void full of nothing. But I think the abyss is maybe a space filled with too much. 

In complexity sciences most interesting behavior is created on the edge of chaotic systems evolving from order: the point of intrigue is the moment before things shatter apart or coalesce around a single thought. It’s like throwing a memory of childhood towards the sky and zooming in right as it reaches the moment where its direction is neither up or down.

I was riding my bike along the LA river yesterday and the wind pulled its skirt up right near my face with pollens from desert plants pulling me into songs of sex and bloom. It was an affront, but made my teeth sew a sweater of the scene; something tangled in memory and craft; smile gnashing at all around. On the return trip the wind was still pushing hot against me, and I couldn’t help but think the wind had taken its directional queues from the ever pervasive LA traffic. 

I thought of the place in the middle of the river where the two streams whooshed past each other. This quiet place where the winds skirt went back around her waist, and the pollen all sat quiet in the front row as the last song was just played. Stage empty of ghostly instruments.

As lights dimmed across an incredible divide a deep bass resonated through us all.