It feels sometimes as if it’s possible to live in multiple places, virtual, real, here and there, close and distant, the idea of being grounded or living in the moment seems sometimes fanciful, fleeting at best. Sometimes I don’t know where I live. Sometimes I wake from a doze in the afternoon and it takes me some time to put a version of myself back together, I feel in a pleasant way detached, adrift, maybe living in France I’m going all Proustian, however the afternoon nap seems to disturb and disrupt the sense of self in a different way to waking in the morning. After one of these naps I was listening to Eels (Mark Oliver Everett) and remembered a TV programme that I saw about his Dad, a quantum physicist. I seem to remember there being an experiment with light being forced through a kind of letter box, the light waves then behaved in an entirely and unpredictable manner. I’m sure that I have got this all wrong, but the analogy I’m interested in drawing is that as we approach a situation, lets say the future, or for the sake of it, a boulder, then the choices that we think we have, are in fact random, as our consciousness and linguistic formed selves encounter in a kind of phenomenological fluidity the seemingly concrete possibilities of the future.
In my last blog I talked about the view of the mountains and the myopic perspective of the boulderer. Today I am drawn as I have been over the last few weeks to a lump of stone by the road, it’s the closest and hardest boulder problem to my home. It’s aesthetic, with warped extrusions of harder rock in waves contained within the coarser grained granite, it’s unclimbed (maybe), complex and difficult. During the crux moves, the effort of leaning right of a gaston (hold) causes me to go almost blind. I am literally lost in a black volcanic rock that was extruded from the vents of the molten earth, stuff that had no choice or option, flow this way or that the shapes and forms it took are as of little consequence and determination as my choice to climb on it today. The options are endless, all we can do is stare with an intensity at the thing and experiences that present before us…
At the age of 51, Hugh Everett III died at home his bed. Eels had this to say about his Dad;
I think about how angry I was that my dad didn’t take better care of himself. How he never went to a doctor, let himself become grossly overweight, smoked three packs a day, drank like a fish and never exercised. But then I think about how his colleague mentioned that, days before dying, my dad had said he lived a good life and that he was satisfied. I realize that there is a certain value in my father’s way of life. He ate, smoked and drank as he pleased, and one day he just suddenly and quickly died. Given some of the other choices I’d witnessed, it turns out that enjoying yourself and then dying quickly is not such a hard way to go.