I was thinking about this this morning over my instant morning coffee. I use Day One for journaling because it shows me those things so easily. For me journaling is a daily endeavor. A habit that has stuck for a few years in the same application and then before in Markdown. Not a solemn duty or a requirement because I don't do those. It is a marker of the times and distances and people and places. I can look back a year easily in its view or just see the days slowly dissolving Vietnam away from the recent. Merciless thing how we mark our days. Now slowly but surely those days on the edge recede into some distance. Both sad and joyful because I realized I need the movement with no purpose. My friend N asked where I would be in September. She wants me to visit and stay with them in Austin Texas awhile. She owns a nice property with horses and plenty of big dogs that love affection and food and her husband is a musician and poet instrumental in the Austin music scene and will write at a moment's notice or play the guitar. Truth is though and we both laugh, I don't know some date when I will fly to see her and stay a week. I kinda sorta feel its early September.
Over the course of my years and then retirement, I've become convinced we don't need time or the accountability and limits it decides to place on us. It is a false thing this time thing but we court it in reminder and todo apps, email and calendar apps. Even Day One does time as a divider. But it has never been really real as James Taylor has remarked in a song I love. Then take distance. In the past, hunter gatherers plied the distance and I believe both for resources but also because they loved to go. I can imagine then walking the breaks in Texas outside of Canyon Texas seeing the bright prairie flowers and ht moon dancing down the river. No city lights to split their view. Then the stars would light a path. Who would not want to go the distance. But now we have chat clients and messaging apps and things supposedly met to bridge the distance and bring someone right there. Zoom calls and FaceTime and chatting. All meant to bring the distance closer in view. But does it really? Do we really lessen the distance or just the feel of it? I don't know. I feel we can melt the distance and some memories like walking the streets of Taipei or Kuala Lumpur are just as vivid even with the remarkable distance applied.
People of course play some role in all this. Without people what would time and distance be? We do both to deal with people we love and some we hate. They are instrumental or hated or both. I'm not a people person for the most part. I've seen more people fade away because of the first two things and I also have seen that my so-called friends enjoy some perverse and perhaps enchanted relationships with this people thing. I've felt the strangest relationships of all are people relationships. I'm not good at them but have never claimed to be.
Maybe the breeding ground of the first three things are places. We give them special meaning given the first three it seems. Some places remain alive like the days walking by West Lake in Hanoi. Other days like working in IT fade away thankfully. I spent 20 years wanting those places to recede. At the end I hated IT and I think its so broken and hurts so many people as they get older. The other sense is that places bring us together buy applying the first three in some special blend that lets us look back and say something like,
Oh I remember that trip in 2010 with H and V and how we danced the night away along the beach.
See how we we take the things and make them all real. But are they? Or do we just use the real thing in all this? Moments are real. Memories are real. Experiences are real. Boots and backpacks. Cars and passport stamps are not. We just imbue them with the things we wish them to have.
Back to my coffee this morning in Daly City and I give you the luxury of your time and distance and people and places. Stay real folks. You deserve it and it deserves you. Good or bad.