Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with a visual arts class about the reconstructive nature of memory. This came at a time when I was reeling from two nights of nightmares, the sort in which the dreamer is screaming, screaming, and no one hears or even looks up. I did not remember the content of the dreams when I awoke.
The mind is a powerful place.
I thought about this on my run later in the afternoon, a run that I didn’t want to go on but I know my mind and body well. Not wanting to go due to mental fatigue meant that the right thing to do, without question, was to go.
As it was, the gathering clouds beckoned. The wind blew in a way that hinted at a gift of cool afternoon rain but that could, in the tropics, blow over and leave us with nothing at all.
I watched my mind as if from a perch high above the treetops as I ran along the canal. I watched it growing negative, judgemental, downright nasty in its commentary of the strangers passing by. And I laughed because I understood – because I knew.
What I criticized in others was precisely what I feared in myself.
The sequence of thoughts did not come as a surprise – after all, I know my mind and body well. It was easy to draw a line from a book I’d read to the dreams I’d had to the venom my mind conjured. Easy because I’d been there before.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived a very long time.
And I laughed when the sky darkened further and the wind danced through the trees. A child again, I danced with it.
At the end of my run, I spent a few minutes stretching in the park. And that was when it began to rain.
And that was when I felt my mind breathe again.