"The man who ceases to be astonished is hollow, possessed of an extinguished heart."--Ryszard Kapucinski
For a while I was feeling faraway from everything. I began to shut down; machine, not human. My ears, my eyes, my nose operated on a minimum expenditure of energy at nine euros an hour, for two to eight hours, depending on the day. I ceased listening and observing, processing and believing; I no longer wrote, not even letters. I wandered past cities that were oddly deserted, like a street in an Edward Hopper painting, only crowded with lit glass windows that offered--unbelievably glossy, out of reach!--sushi, cakes, thrift shop dresses, books, chairs waiting for my loved ones to fill them up. Entranced, I looked and looked, moving further inward while winter slowly, inexorably, became spring.
Leaves and flowers, out of necessity, finally pushed themselves out of kernels of bursting potential; they bowed to the wind, to the rain, as plain and efficient as long-practicising Buddhist ascetics. Their numbers multiplied, and everywhere I went, they were there, knocking on the doors and windows of my consciousness.
At first spring was an unnecessary, unasked-for siege, on my senses, my time, already, now, all the vanishing hours that might have gone into my writing, had I only managed it all!
But to enter this new house, with all its potential for organizing my life, and to observe the ways I donít listen or see, . . . it is only now that I am surrendering to those things that I cannot change, to those things I was trying to preserve myself from; preserved, I had become perfectly ordinary, dreamless, a congealed specter.