Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Sometimes words all take on the character of inert desert sand, good only for pouring through the neck of an hourglass, no coherence of meaning’s attraction bridging even the narrowest of gaps to coagulate a fertile field of food for thought where ideas sprout in gardens off the track of time. So often I approach this keyboard with THE key to expressing the essence of my grandest ideas and most loving of visions in mind only to feel the drain of vitality begin as I approach the threshold between thought and action. In trying to make that crossing in composing this post I lost the magnetic metaphor, that living backbone standing for the message contained by the chord within, and so the crumble of form back to dessiccated sand. But my insistence on writing on a regular basis, if I am to be a writer worthy of my best ideas, persisted with this attempt to describe even those times when words go on strike — and I found the metaphor again, or one like it, it doesn’t matter. It is about that threshold I see between thought and action.

Thought is like swimming in the ocean delighting in the varieties and schools of ideas within which one treads with no particular elsewhere or otherwhen to be. If I stay in the liquid too long I become gray, pruney pudding like my brain while my bones loose their will to support me, so I must regularly climb aboard my boat, “Home Port,” to maintain the health of my body while remaining on open water, the realm of thought.

Action is like dancing on land where I may step on plants, ants and people’s tender toes. The slightest gesture is as liable to slam into immovable objections as find kindred hoofers.

The threshold between the two worlds is contemplation of the golden rule represented by the rope I use to tie up to whatever dock I choose. Conscious consideration of my intent upon landing and understanding the possible results of the dance from experience of the harbor is like going through my own personal customs where entry is denied if it’s purpose is found to be less beneficial than benign.

Between finishing the last line and the posting of it I had an extreme experience of the instant karma involved in taking the threshold too lightly for purposes of ego preservation. While knowing that my life long, chronic bronchitis had reached its congestion limit I still justified a chilly two mile, rain soaked treck to the nearest cat food supplier to maintain my self-image as good provider. As the earth covered the sun that evening I began having panicky, asthma-like breathing which lasted until my visiting friend, and now guardian angel, Erica, arranged for me to get an inhaler by noon the next day. The attack has left me quite puny without strength, energy or stamina. While I am recovering slowly, I have realized that I have revoked my own visa to cross from thought to action, and am held in thrall by the threshold I ill considered when deciding to risk my health for the momentary appetite and imagined appreciation of my cats. When considering action now, not only the morality of the act but the energy requirements become of prime importance as I languish in the customs detention of threshold limbo. It was the worst, scariest night of my life but chocked full of lessons I will be learning for a long time to come. The threshold is real and ignorance or exploitation of it leaves one with no choice but to react to results of our ill considered blunders upon shore.


troutsky said...

You know I am a political animal so I see that threshold in somewhat universal terms, such as ,when do you trust your theory is solid enough to risk action based on it. History is replete with instances of thoughtless action leading to disaster as well as missed opportunities where action should have been taken.The natural world is a place I go to get help in sorting it out but not the only place i go.

With personal, or particular action there are generally fewer repercussions for wrong -thinking, at least for others so risk is a little easier to take.Hence the bronchitis?

gregrandgar said...

Well, Trout, I guess being a political animal would lead you to see the threshold I speak of as a place in which theories are hatched, planned and ventured forth. Thanks for showing me an example by which the simplicity of the golden rule can be overlooked by world changing ambitions. What I intended to describe is the place where personal motives are examined for just such exploitative purposes to insure that action is meant to be a benign gift at worst and of benefit to anyone who grasps the gesture. Mencken wrote, "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." It is these kinds of ambitions I intend to ferret out with contemplation of the golden rule so that the dance sets the spirit free rather than instructs in the proper steps for everyone. I am not so concerned whether my purpose effects any planned results as I am that it is a gift.