Ruetine

3 08 2010

Czeslaw Milosz was an author I was forcibly introduced to in Berkeley back in 2006.  I was distracted at the time by the usual things, and when the deadline came for reading his Visions of San Francisco Bay, I must admit I did him far less than justice.  However, I’ve decided to redeem that summer, so I bought one of his books.  In it, I read what instantly become one of my favorite pieces ever:

To get up in the morning and go to work, to be bound to people by the ties of love, friendship, or opposition — and all the time to realize that it was only meanwhile and make-believe.  For in him hope only was permanent and real, so strong that he was impatient with living.  He was to catch now, in a minute — to catch what?  A magic formula which contains all the truth about existence.  He would brush his teeth and it was just there, he would take a shower and practically pronounce it, had he not taken a bus, it would have revealed itself, and so on all day long.  Waking up at night, he felt he was working his way toward it through a thin curtain, but then, in that striving, he would fall asleep.

He did not regard kindly this affliction of his.  He agreed with the opinion that he should be here — entirely present, in a given place and moment, attentive to the needs of those who were close to him and fulfilling their expectations.  To think that they were just for meanwhile and that he practiced with them a make-believe was to harm them, yet he was unable to renounce the thought that, really, he had no time for life with them.

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