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Oceans of Thought in a Glass: Ramble ‘Round the World

Spring surpassed his wildest hopes. His trees began to sprout and grow, as if time was in a hurry and wished to make one year do for twenty.

— J.R.R. Tolkien

The fox might know many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Keen eyes focus on the darkening horizon, while the object of that focus scans the calm sea for the dusk-flicker of fish. Beneath the surface, countless fish swarm in schools, while others go it alone, since all are conditioned to survive, according to their order. Conversation can be magical, the way in which it alchemizes words into a conceptual storm, but is never guaranteed, even with keen attention given to the essential ingredients. But solitary thinking, such as poring over a book, or writing a story, is no less magical than good conversation. There is the fox and the hedgehog, the hawk and the sparrow, a school of fish and the shark, the group thinking and the artist at work. There is also that handful of Elven earth given to Samwise Gamgee, a singular thing to hold, but in that dirt, a whole world lies dormant, a latent ecosystem that helps the Shire begin to heal after the ravages of a little war of its own. In the case of the nature of rich soil, Elven or worldly, the diametric opposites from before dissolve and intermingle, like ashes in a wind-tossed fire.

Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world (ad infinitum)

— Daft Punk

Even if there are more particles in a glass of water than glasses of water in the ocean, you can’t swim in it. If possible ideas are the particles and the glass of water is the brain, an ocean’s worth of thought is believable. But one idea crowds out others, while the possible ones remain as they were, unseen and drifting in the aether of the latent multitudes. The glass of water remains. In the face of a blank page, all can seem possible, even the fantasy of gushing ideas in such a frenzy, the writer could swim in them. A hydra-headed conversation of many mouths speaking at once could unfold. A whole forest could grow from a handful of soil. But even in the handful of soil, teeming with countless microscopic lifeforms, thoughts, Time is the tyrant that rations that bounty. A hand can only write in a linear manner, one letter at a time, no matter how fast one’s mind is churning. The ideas that move that hand can only grow — ideas enriched by the soil dug up by the fox and the hedgehog — through the light of focus and rains of luck, maybe even a dash of Elven magic.

Ramble on

And now’s the time, the time is now

To sing my song

I’m goin’ ‘round the world…

— Led Zeppelin, Ramble On

Everything in its time means nothing. Something soon is the best of possible worlds for the artist. Anyone can go ‘round the world, but the most meaningful of those circumnavigations often comes through rambling thoughts, one cognitive step at a time, ‘round the imagined world that changes as quickly as it spins. The only soft part in the armor of tyrannical Time is the NOW, even if a writer’s soil is a bounty yielded from many pasts. That’s what makes that armor of Time impenetrable from a future perspective, since nothing is apparent yet, while there are only subatomic chinks in its past, dim glimpses of what will never be again. With all the imagined worlds possible at any given moment, the glass of water always remains singular, since Nature abhors redundancy more than a vacuum. Alone, thinking, perhaps even writing, with a song playing at any volume, or in one’s head, that glass of water on my desk is more for the plants by the windows than myself, each plant sharing that soil with intrepid clovers and mosses, like little thoughts that took seasons to emerge, but now appear older and more settled than the plants that called for some soil of their own.

Hayden Moore

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