When I was in college, I remember looking around while walking to class and suddenly realizing that I had missed the turning of the leaves. Had I really not been paying attention to my surroundings at all? The leaves were gone and I’d have to wait a whole year. I felt disoriented and full of despair.
My 3 year old daughter has also felt this late, desperate awareness of the world moving on. We usually read three books as I put her to bed. The other night, after the second book, she realized that she hadn’t really been listening to the stories. She saw one book left and began to panic. She said "but I, I didn’t… I didn’t hear it!” She had a busy brain and was having trouble settling. She wanted to become engrossed, she remembered how good it felt, and was heartbroken to have missed it.
Every evening I have been thinking about this parallel experience I share with my daughter. In the morning, I can’t remember the specifics. I have only a vague memory that she and I have a shared experience, a shared longing.
I took this photograph just the other day, not long after I was able to recall my late night thoughts with enough clarity to record them. It is the latest addition to my repairs collection, which I started in 2004 in order to focus on and record how I take in my surroundings. These thoughtfully composed bricks are tough competition for most abstract painting and contemporary sculpture.
I’ve been in this particular building many times for a mindfulness meditation group over the past 5 years or so. I’m only now taking in this composition of bricks.