I took this photo last night here in the Hudson Valley. Very pleased to say that a poem of mine, “Nonfiction,” has just received a Willow Review Award. Am using my prize money for a handsome new fountain pen, thus completing the poetic cycle.
Although I yearn to serve what is important, I am exhausted by Importances. Living that keyed-up, wired, efforty onrush of priorities— Alert! Important! Respond! Flash! Gone. Alert! Important! Respond! Flash! Gone. Alert! Important! Respond! Flash! Gone. It’s not so much that we can’t hear ourselves think, but that we can’t hear ourselves ask questions.
The synaptic dazzle obscures the humility of questions. To pause seems unresponsive, anti-athletic—when you are tossed the ball, you are not to stand and question. You are to zen-monk it to the next player, to the goal, no thinking, just respond. We know the meaning of Game On!
Assuming questions are important, when exactly is Game Off? The 24/7 circadian jumble, the clamor for attention– I recognize this world. It’s like my urgent childhood as one of seven children, when it was psychic life or death to be noticed, to be valued, to be important. But how important is important now?
What is important? For me, flow. The flow of ink across a page, for one. The ebb of ink, important also. Have to stay with the ebb to go with the flow. Come to think of it, ebb is still flow, just backwards.
If flow is important, questions are important. They flow more abundantly and frequently than answers. If answers were The Answer, the Internet would be the answer. But while answers are meaningless without questions, unanswered questions still have meaning. The most meaningful questions of all have no answers.
Happily, most answers give rise to more questions, and the image of a grassy blossomy meadow arises. A field of inquiry. A natural landscape of the mind.
There is abundance in a field. Noticed or not, plants seem happy in their world. Plants do not insist on their importance. They have no doubt of it.
What questions are you asking?