Maybe we live faster now. A kind of hysteria of busy work where we have to be more deliberate about our lives. We have to remind ourselves to eat together at the table, food we have cooked rather than microwaved, no electronic devices. Meals where savor is the word — for food and conversation.
Maybe we walk to remember how to pace ourselves. Through the neighborhoods where the dogs check out the same places as before just in case, and the cats regard us without bothering to turn their heads.
Some of my favorite people I’ve met virtually first. The woman who made paper flowers for our wedding. The woman who read my manuscript and gave me feedback. I didn’t know them yet when they offered to help. We have stimuli flooding us from every direction but that doesn’t mean we’re at its mercy. Virtual life is another place to form relationships with heft if that’s what we want from our relationships.
At our wedding, my friend handed us a painting she had made. It was so stunning that I couldn’t speak. So perfect. Last month we went to her art show and I got to see another aspect of her brain. How complex the story of her art is.
In New Orleans this May, I finally met the woman I’ve been corresponding with for five years. It isn’t true that our lives now have no roots. We have to be conscious of them. Conscious. Deliberate. We have to tend them. We have not made the world tidier, but we’ve made it more immediate. Instantaneous. Unless you’re talking about a conversation around the table late into the night where the men behind you have hunkered together to sing like heartbroken sailors. Or paintings. Or notes of solidarity emailed through the dark to you. You in particular.