Everything is an image


Why am I so fascinated with the mundane? I think everyone’s life is full of the mundane, but they seem to desperately seek to escape from it. But then again, maybe my idea of mundane is not what everyone else thinks.

There are two women sitting across from each other at a library table; their stuff is scattered around the table top. They are talking to each other. One listening, the other talking. They are friends, or at least friendly classmates. There is nothing particularly notable about the image they create, but they do create an image that they are unaware of. This to me is the mundane and it is beautiful. I do not care to stop and smell the roses or live in the moment, but to stop and stare and to simply live, as one cannot live in the moment because no moment is a moment for very long to live in. I seek to live the now, the future, and the past. And everything is beautiful because of this. The moment that the girl sitting next to me typing in her electronic dictionary will pass. She will move and gather her stuff and will be gone. The image that she creates will vanish and I will be left with what was lost. But what makes the image that she creates is the knowledge of the possible image before and the one she creates when she leaves. What makes the empty desk and pushed in chair just as beautiful and valid is that before there was another image and eventually there will be yet another. This is what I was grasping at when I was writing about the book I read. It is a glimpse at an image of a man, of a life. It is mundane, nostalgic, sad, and warm. It is the oddities of life that we hide from behind false definitions of what our lives should entail.

There is no grandeur in life, only lies of such. Again the most interesting passage of the book.

It was at first sadness for the man, and then it came to be directed at Shingo himself. The train was on the long run between Hodogaya and Totsuka. The autumn sky was darkening. The man was younger than Shingo, but in his late fifties even so. And the girl—would she perhaps be the same age of Kikuko? There had been in her nothing corresponding to the cleanness of Kikuko’s eyes. But how could it be, Shingo wondered, that she was not the man’s child? The more he thought about the problem the more his wonder grew. There were in the world people so resembling each other that one could only take them for parent and child. There could hardly, however, be large a number of such people. Probably in all the world there was only the one man to go with the girl, only the one girl to go with the man. Only the one for either of them and indeed perhaps in all the world there was only one such couple. They lived as strangers, with no suggestion of the bond between them. Perhaps they were even ignorant of each other’s existence. And quite by chance there were aboard the same train. They had come together for the first time, and probably would never meet again. Thirty minutes, in the length of a human life. They had parted without exchanging words. Sitting side by side, they had not looked at each other, and neither could have noticed the resemblance. And they had separated, participants in a miracle of which they had been unaware. And the only one struck by the strangeness of it all was an outsider. He wondered whether, accidental witness to it all, he too had partaken of the miracle. (Kawabata, pg.263-4)

(The Sound of the Moutain, Kawabata Yasunari)

What miracles have I witnessed everyday that I have not noticed? Everything is an image.


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