Last December, two days before Christmas, I found this little Phiddipus audax at the bottom right-hand corner of my iMac. It did not stay long, just long enough for me to snap a few, mediocre shots with my Powershot A620. It was a welcome sight, and just yesterday, almost like clockwork, another December P. audax appeared in the house for a brief moment; hopefully it will poke its head out again, and I will get a chance to do some early winter Salticidae macro work. I am already a little wistful for bugs, even as a trip to Florida and the wonderful arthropods of its November “autumn” are still looming large in my rearview. But there it is, nonetheless: a wistfulness with which, I am sure, most of us are familiar: the caressing memory of a past delight, be it far or near, touching with the softness you’d expect of a ghost’s lithe fingers. It is usually for happier times or precious moments, but sometimes it is for unknown dreams of peace or impressions (as opposed to depressions) of forgotten things that we would like to sink into. It is an airy, beautiful sadness to float through, and we go on; life goes on; it goes on. (To borrow from the poet Frost.)
Yet there is seemingly a contradiction between this sort of sad nostalgia and an undivided being. How does a person live in the present moment if they are inhabiting the memories of the past? Of course, the immediate resolution is that the wistful feeling we experience can be nothing other than our present being. We are what we are what we feel we are what we are. To separate them is like trying to remove our brains from our skulls and then declare, “This is my brain.” (To borrow from Dr. Watts.) So case closed, right? Well, no. It is but the gift and the curse of our well-developed memories to remember so well and forget so fast the present moment. The utility of memory can be boundless, but we also lose ourselves in its labyrinth. It is a fine line to walk, and I think perhaps one of, if not the, great spiritual challenges a human being faces. I think perhaps the easiest way to reconcile it, is much the same as anything: to breath. That is the thing to remember; that is the thing. Breathe the air, sing your song, and shoot your jumpers.
It’s been a long day this Thursday,
got a long, long way to go;
it’s been a long time since you’ve come by,
and I only know the things I know.
Had a bad month in September,
October scared the hell out of me;
I get lonely in November,
December is where I wanna be…