journals, "The shimmering, fleeting fragments of life..."

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Life breaks open so intensely sometimes; sometimes it feels as though the door has been abruptly flung open to such a brightness that I want to press my hands against my eyes. It is hard to see so much. It is hard to come across something so simple as a shadow cast on the sidewalk and think the beauty of it is enough to shatter me. It is hard to see and feel and know such things because we have an obligation to them. It is no longer possible to walk past the shadow, walk past the feeling, to ignore the loveliness because they mark us and it is irrevocable. We can no longer go back. I carry all these shards with me, pieces of story, images, people, awareness. They demand that we speak for them, through them, in them. They are petty tyrants, constantly nagging at me, demanding my attention. Sometimes I think it will break me but it doesn't, but so much I am at the edge of what I can bear. But still better than that other, submerged dulled existence.....
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Hard sometimes, to see how these threads all weave together, how all these fragments of life are caught on the web. I know they connect, or at least I'm pretty sure of it on good days. But it requires a leap -- of faith? or surrender? or despair? -- to allow for the spaces in between what we know and what we can't yet envision, to embrace the loveliness of uncertainty, like the shimmering shape our breath makes in the cold air before it disappears.…

I think of the way the dead continue to take shape around our life, the way our memory, our history, our desires, take shape and disappear. How we take shape in a moment, are caught sometimes, by the brightness of life. As when my studio neighbors and I stood on the roof of our warehouse watching the ash cloud above Mt St Helens billow and disperse. Standing in the day’s last light on the roof, watching the huge cloud form and move and reflect that golden cast of sun... now feels like some other life briefly glimpsed... at once strange and familiar, an odd comfort. Dreamlike. Nothing seemed more clear or beautiful than that moment. We are caught then, in an instant, and clarified. The burden is on us to remember it.
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I think a lot of the snow storm we drove through after leaving New York City and the installation of The Gates... it had a kind of mythical quality to it. The rural road north toward Montreal was not illuminated by street lights. Only the headlamps from the car reflected off the falling snow. We drove into a steady spiral of white streamers against a black black sky... it was so hypnotic. There were no windows glowing yellow from farm houses in the distance, no oncoming light from other cars, only these tiny bright flecks that shone and instantly were gone. Each dazzling spot almost too small and fast to be glimpsed, but all the fragments together make a torrent of light and movement, even now, in memory, as I try to hold on to it....
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