A young friend often tweets the activities she misses, the activities we used to engage in before the pandemic. The anniversary of the last time she went to a party, or met a friend for coffee, or called to a house for tea. March, March, you dangerous beast, summoning the last days of pre-pandemic life, before the snuffing-out of cafes and libraries and nights out.
I hate it when social media reminds you of the things you posted a year or two years ago, all those things you did publicly, when public life still existed. Meanwhile the past of the interior life remains obscure, except for diary entries and jottings in notebooks that seem arcane years later. Into the ether, all those minute choices you made every day, from which splintered more choices, and other paths, some you didn’t want, but it was there anyways, to be chosen or disavowed, choices and paths that shaped you.
The choosing made and burnished me. It bathed me in fire at times, each consequence striking my form, again and again, until the shape became clear to the gods. A thing in a crucible has no shape until the hammer hits it, and then it becomes a spoon or a bowl or a sword, to feed or kill.
But the form of any thing is never final: think the bones of dinosaurs, think kore missing shapely limbs or a nose, think houses once lively with noise and hearthfire, now derelict in an overgrown field. Years from now, I’ll look back on the character I had when I was in my 40s, and I’ll wonder at it, like it was some Paleozoic fossil.