Searching for Peace (In a coffee shop, working on a board)

board

So, I’m sitting at Read’s and I’ve spent an hour working a on a skate board that’s going to be used in an auction to raise money for a skate board park in memory of a beautiful child who died in his sleep at the age for fourteen. He was a skate boarder and a movie maker. And he was a beautiful human being. I’m doing this skateboard for him.

I love working on this board. I get lost in the details of the drawings and everything around me falls away and I’m on this plain of existence composed of wood and black ink and intricate lines flowing into each other to form shapes and rhythms with meanings I may never comprehend, but this is for Isaac…so I don’t mind being lost on that plateau.

But working on the board gets a bit draining after a while. This is a good thing, but I’m on my third cup of coffee and I haven’t eaten anything today. My hands are shaking with caffeine energy. It’s time to write.

So, after close to an hour on my next novel, I’m listening to two young university women talking vociferously about feminism. I can’t hear much of their words over the background music and the distance, the conversations going on all around me, the sound of the coffee machines, the door opening and closing and letting in chills of cold air every few minutes.

But I can feel their energy, their animated excitement with ideas and the expression of those ideas, the mutual exchange and the energy that comes from clarifying thoughts by sharing them.

That’s when we really know what we think…when our thoughts are clear enough that we can express them in a manner that communicates to others.

It doesn’t have to be words, it can be a painting, a sonata, a photograph… a dance. It can be the silence of a shared meditation. That mutual awareness of an idea makes gives definition and solidity to the idea…the ability to grow and evolve. Once an idea is expressed it’s hanging around forever…if only in the vibrations left behind from mutual awareness.

Ideas are energy. They vibrate furiously inside the mind, but I’m not sure if they leave a permanent mark in that cerebral cocoon. I guess it’s like the egg meeting that sperm cell. The idea of birth is there…but until they meet, the consummation of the idea isn’t. It’s only real when the mutual awareness happens. Everything else is daydream.

“I don’t know, Biff,” said the fox.

“Hello, fox,” I said. “Something on your mind?”

“Well, I guess not,” said the fox. “Unless I tell you what it is.”

“That’s not exactly what I mean, fox,” I said. “You can have something on your mind and it’s real to you during the moments that it exists in your mind. After those moments, it usually fades into the background to become memory or a vague thing that that might spring into your thoughts another time and you might even build on it. But it’s still in a dormant stage until you express it…when you put it out there where it can suffocate or breath the air that surrounds it.”

“So, Biff, let me get this straight,” said the fox. “If I have an idea, like just in my thoughts, it’s not really an idea until I talk to someone about it…or make a painting or dance it.”

“No,” I said. “It’s an idea, but it’s still in an embryonic state. It could be growing and developing but, until you express it, it’s still in the womb of your mind…where it could be forgotten, or die with you. It’ll never have the energy and resilience of birth.”

“So what’s this have to do with your search for peace, Biff?” said the fox.

“Hey, fox,” I said. “Everything. Again. Everything. Peace is an idea, and idea that we’ve never made real by…and I mean everyone…expressing it…and making it real.”

“Hey, Biff,” said the fox, “read the papers, listen to the news, watch television…everybody’s talking abut peace.”

“Yeah, fox,” I said. “Peace on their terms. And that’s not really peace. There can be no terms on peace. Not ever. It has to be a mutual acceptance that we’re all in this together…and that is the only terms of peace that will bring peace.”

(To be continued. God only knows where.)

“So, Biff,” said the fox, “you eavesdrop on people’s conversations at Reads?”

“And I make notes.”

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