Progress


So I’m watching a time-lapse video of a massive dam being dismantled over ten months to allow the Elwha river to roar back to life.

Progress seems slow.

I see my patterns and I know what’s good, but I still bark the harsh word, eat the bad thing, love the wrong people.

Walking forward, I go in a circle.

I look up: here again. What the fuck?

Why make an animal that craves such linear sequence when everything is obviously going in a spiral? Like from DNA to the galaxy. Seems like a design flaw to me.

Anyway, the dam.

So you can see all of nature going bipolar here — the shadows are a frenzy of clock arms against the valley. Rapid cycling. The sun vaults relentlessly across the sky. Bulldozers move a few inches of earth and a trickle exhales into a stream.

Earth time and body time aren’t the same. Like how kid time is so different than adult time. Remember how long it took for algebra class to end? For Friday night to come? So ladybug time is different than bear time, which is probably hella different than, say, rock and mineral time. Oh, rocks and minerals don’t know time? THEN WHY DO THEY PUT QUARTZ IN WATCHES??

Stay with me.

From the right vantage point, we can see that the progress comes in the return. We keep longing for the Friday night of the soul, but you can’t step in the same Elwha twice. It comes and it goes and fuck, it’s Monday again.

I used to sit in a kind of meditation where I imagined the Doozers from that stoner puppet show Fraggle Rock were reconstructing the architecture of my heart, because it had been so badly broken. I couldn’t tell if it was working. This kind of prayer, it can take years. A pebble shifts, then another: removing all the obstructions.

You keep showing up, waking up, falling down, breaking open, and in ten years you are startled to find you’ve forgiven your father.

This existence, it can feel like some kind of Fibonacci death trap. I mean you always hear downward spiral, right? But there’s another kind of gravity…we all bend towards freedom. It would not surprise me at all if it took more than one lifetime.

Because if you sped up our lives so you could see the progress we’re all making, we would all be in this fractal of a river, rushing toward the sea of Friday night, our hearts like salmon forever leaping upstream.