Friday, February 12, 2010

Animals

Don't know if I can capture this experience, but I feel compelled to try.

A few weeks ago, when I first started taking the train, I told Sam that watching people wasn't that interesting, because in Boston everyone's a student or young professional, and they pretty much all look the same.

I've felt guilty ever since I said that.

I knew it meant a piece of me was buried. It didn't mean they weren't interesting, it meant I couldn't see them, and that made me and my writerly self feel very sad.

So last night, on the train, I was listening to a podcast (RadioLab's latest: Animal Minds), and somehow, since my ears were occupied and not my eyesight, I could see how incredible everyone was. It was a crowded train, and I was up higher than about a dozen people, and there were these three kids, three young men (student ages)--and this is the part where I'll fail to describe what happened--they had eyes. I mean, all three of them had these insanely unique sets of eyes, and I was just stunned.

When I'm depressed, or even sad or run down for a length of time, I don't look up much. I don't make eye contact with anyone but Sam. This makes it shocking when I actually look at people again, actually see them. And I think that's what's happening: I'm slowly, very very slowly, feeling like myself again. It's incredible.

This morning, this seeing thing happened again, only more intense. I was still listening to the podcast, and the last story was about a National Geographic photographer who was trying to get pictures of this enormous female seal in the arctic. He was underwater, and she put his whole head and camera in her mouth, then decided she liked him, and started trying to feed him penguins. She brought the penguin, dropped it in front of him, and when he didn't eat it, she brought him another. This went on for four days. She brought him live penguins, who darted off immediately, and dead penguins, which she placed on top of his camera, and he said he fell in love with this seal. He couldn't sleep at night, he was so in love with her.

And this is another part where I'm going to fail to explain, but I suddenly had this flash of dinner last night, or before dinner, when I brought Sam this big plate of veggies to eat while I finished and while he worked on his computer. I did this even though he was cranky, and even though I was pouty that he was cranky, and at the time I felt like sort of a martyr: Here, Man, I bring you food even if you're not so nice.

But this morning, this morning, listening to this podcast, remembering the plate of veggies, I teared up. I was so humbled, so aware of my role as animal, feeding someone I care about, doing sort of like the seal. And suddenly, again, I could see everyone, and this time, all of us were beautiful, even me, because I was a part of it. A woman with a lip stud tugged on a brown glove with her teeth. A man with a square jaw turned the page of an article. The woman in front of me in a red coat and messy ponytail rested her head on the cold window. And I prayed. Thanks, I said.

9 comments:

Sam Ruddick said...

wow. thanks, babe. i think, however, that even if i divorce myself from my self-serving need to be topical, it's worth using this writing in another context. i mean, blogs are great for what they are, but perhaps an essay on coming out of depression is in order. i don't think i've ever read one before...

Tia and Amara said...

this made me cry. Thank you. I don't see very often on my own.

eden said...

i loved this.

it was beautiful.

thanks for sharing.

eden said...

ps - i agree with sam. maybe publish something like this. it's good.

Elise said...

Oh, lovely. So lovely.

k. double-u. said...

Even though words can never entirely communicate what we mean, I don't think you failed to explain. So lovely. Thanks.

belann said...

I always like it when I see Deja returning. She has such insight. Keep writing.

Emily said...

Oh, how I love your posts and how I love Radio Lab. I couldn't stop talking about that whale thing. Thank you for this post.

Bryson and Tara said...

I love reading your thoughts, Deja. I have had this experience as well, and you did a very good job explaining it. I'm always stunned when I take a break from my egotistical self to realize that everyone around me has an amazing story to tell, and is a beloved child of God.