Forget the brake

In the last six weeks, I've been away from the house once to the grocery store (four weeks ago), once to pick up food from a restaurant (last weekend), and twice to pick up some food one of my wife's friends. Otherwise life persists here, inside and outside of the house.

(It's a network problem. You solve those by unplugging the network. We took the call to solve the problem seriously. If the nodes in the network are close enough to connect, you end up with exactly what you don't want: paths through the network. But as for the larger We: We chose not to understand. כִּי רוּחַ יִזְרָעוּ, וְסוּפָתָה יִקְצֹרוּ)

It has been so long since: [insert your own missing thing here]. The old paths are overgrown, washed out, reclaimed by the field and the forest. Too much talk of the new normal—how could there be a new normal if there is no old normal?

Driving away from the house this past week: forget to disconnect the parking brake. Break the order, forget the brake.

The next day, the neighbor across the street comes over, knocks on the door, steps back to the sidewalk. My wife and I are each on a work call, so she can only wave at him without finding out what is the matter. Seemed unusual, and we didn't figure it out.


The garage door had been open overnight. Driving into the house: forget to put the door down. Break the order, forget the door.

Decay of the obvious. Breakdown of order. Mindfulness is a slick word, full of snake oil imagery, but awareness I can tolerate. Be aware: if the old patterns are gone, you might have to pay attention to What Things Mean again. In this interstitial period, there is both the opportunity to forget how things were done and do wrong by the old ways, but also the opportunity to forget how things were done and to learn them again for the first time.

Something comes to mind. Usually I think of it as part of that long loop out, but now here we are on a longer loop in.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

—T.S. Eliot, "The Little Gidding", Four Quartets (1941)

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