On calm

07/05/20


Do you remember calm? Do you remember being calm? All day I yearn for calm, to be calm.

I can clearly visualize a future calm in which I am seated in a worn bentwood chair, at a simple oak table, writing, reading, or eating bread, olives, and cashew cheese, sometimes looking out a large window at a naked and bedewed swatch of land where a family of deer appear and disappear through shifts of fog, eating, walking, eating, bounding.

But I can't remember a past calm. I remember acute moments of panic, stress, anxiety. I remember periods of prolonged cognitive opacity which on some days I might have misapprehended as calm.

I don't believe I would be able to dream of calm had I not experienced it. But as I type this, while trying and failing to drown out the start of the second straight month of all-nightly fireworks here in NYC with medieval classical music, after bookmarking Ulysses after only 25 pages when the intermittent pops and booms began to complicate Joyce's already anxious punctuation, my heart feels as though it's about to burst, and that I may only find comfort in knowing that it has beat at this pace for this long; that it might survive it yet longer.