Transparent screens

ullswater

1954
May

Attachment to the self renders life more opaque. One moment of complete forgetting and all the screens, one behind the other, become transparent so that you can perceive clarity to its very depths, as far as the eye can see; and at the same time everything becomes weightless. Thus does the soul become a bird.

Philippe Jaccottet
Seedtime: Notebooks, 1954-79

It is a marvellous thing to observe from time to time that one forgot oneself – even for a few moments. And I recall that Philippe Jaccottet had similar thoughts back in 1954. I’ve noted them often enough that they come back to me of their own volition every once in a while.

I wonder how many people recall the frequent ‘don’t forget’ (this, that or the other) of schooldays and years of life-school days thereafter? Don’t forget. Don’t forget. Don’t forget.

And I forget, and perhaps you forget, that it can be good to forget. Especially oneself. Once in a while, like an ever more glorious dawn, we forget so completely and wonderfully – and maybe unexpectedly – that we know without a doubt that we’re alive!

Five senses are suddenly, inexplicably, entirely attuned. Curtains, screens, checkpoints, and don’t forget lists fall to the floor, and everything takes on the dimensions of the extra-ordinary. And a person flies.

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