Friday, September 27, 2019

Moving Metaphors

We are so dependent on our batteries. We are so dependent on the vessels that buoy us. Even afloat, we have the swirl of potential and possibility happening around us. Logs can suddenly surface. Big obstacles can impede one’s flow. Waterfalls plunge. Rapids rock. Driving too. The traffic can be so very unpredictable. Just like life. We contain ourselves in the shell of our exoskeleton and hope that all our memories, all our treasures, all our luggage, stays intact. Even though we may not handle all of it our self. Along the way, we must entrust to others much of what once was ‘just’ ours. But even so, wrapped up, boxed, locked in the trunk, and hidden from view, very many of our treasures do not get seen until we ourselves unwrap them.

Adam Broadford (in his: Admission, A Story Born of Africa; as well as in his: Transition, From Africa to Canada) finds a constant need to rely on his own battery. It is the vital source impelling him from place to place, from predicament to predicament. So too for each of us. But admittedly, Adam has an extraordinary set of challenges, much beyond the average experience. His need to keep himself charged up, ready for reaction and response, becomes habitual. Most of us, thankfully, may take things more easily.

Yet all batteries can lose their juice. Compartmentalized, each cell does its thing, yet is essentially interdependent on the others. Like the Johari Window. It’s four panes look both outwards and inwards. 1) We see ourselves as others see us. 2) They see things in us we do not see. 3) We know things about ourselves that others do not know. 4) And then there’s the unknown that neither of us know. So? What is it that invigorates one to open one’s window to the outside world and invite change, impel the move to yet another place? How does one maintain a sense of equilibrium within the resultant flight from one place to another? Does a yacht not pitch and yaw to the rigging of the sails? Does a plane not shudder and gyrate in the turbulence? Does a car not screech at corners too sharp, squeal at sudden stops? And does the body not ache from the muscular adjustments to the variant slopes of the floor, the shudder of lifting packing boxes, the unending sorting of one’s stuff? Even pack horses must sometimes go uphill. Even steam trains need sand on the rails to prevent the big engine’s drive wheels slipping and squealing against the incipient threat of sliding backwards. Buffeted by winds, the free bird on the wing adjusts. But not all is a voyage with wings outspread to the ease of thermal dynamics.

But ‘bad’ batteries do not respond to kick-starts, push starts, or even to patience. Kaput, they give but an ineffectual clicking at the starter. And then, with one’s bonnet open, and the jumper cables, like blood red and old black placenta dangling, awaiting vital connection, well, it can be an awkward thing. Help. Please. Someone must stop; and have the generosity of spirit to regenerate the evidently immobile.

We move. Most of us move without much thought to the effort it takes to rise from inertia and to go about one’s daily gig. For some, each movement costs. For some, a steeling of reserves and intention and objectives becomes essential to lift a mere cup of sustenance, never mind the focus needed to move boxes, furniture, stuff. And the batteries are best removed from clocks that may be packed away for a year. But the battery in the vehicle, well now, that best be changed. Especially after packing up and needing a boost, twice, within the last fortnight.

We move into the unknown. The new place; the new city; the new friends to make; the new adventures to have. At issue is whether one moves horizontally (despite the accretion of yet more to know, and to have,) or moves vertically, acquiring yet more insight, more clarity, more enlightenment. That Johari window is most easily rendered with four equal panes. But real life is not about equality. Is it? We each are not given the same. We each take on different paths. And we each use our batteries according to the will within. Especially when adult. Especially when given license to be independent; and most especially, when free to move.

Still, best to keep one’s battery charged. Best to renew the old one. And best to have jumper cables handy in case we need help. After all, we’re never really, truly, independent. Are we?