Doesn't Add Up
I just learned that as of this day, Seattle, where I live, has experienced only 78 hours of summer—summer being defined as temperatures over 80° F. That sounds accurate. I’ve run my car’s air conditioner twice and my bedroom fan three times. Though I don’t know what this means to my boys. Whether it’s 80 or 60, their schools remain just as closed. I understand the Mariners continue to play baseball beneath their retractable roof. My apple tree is bearing fruit, though grudgingly.
Summer is a hard thing to measure, I suppose. Many things are, though this hasn’t stopped humans from measuring all we can, day and night. Growing up, my family would be watching football, and the fullback would dive into a pile, and from this scrum of bodies, after some wrestling, the referee would extract the ball. The chains would be called for and the ref would have to lie on the ground to see that the nose of the ball was one inch short. Fourth down. And my sister would cry, “How do they know? How do they know it wasn’t one inch closer?”
I heard a famous writer say once that if you write in a dictatorship you’ll know if you’re any good because you will be jailed or killed. Such is our desire to put ourselves on some universal scale that he would invent this macabre metric. And if such a scale existed, if you could be weighed for literary or artistic value, would you put yourself on it?
You might be tempted. You might be tempted to finally know your value, for perhaps you’ve been uncertain. Perhaps there are days when you’ve looked at all you’ve done or will do and wondered, “What does it add up to?” Have you asked this question wanting an actual answer? Or have you asked it hoping secretly for the nothing that always comes in response? That nothing belongs to you, after all. It is your empty space where creation begins before it can be counted.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com