Saturday, November 06, 2010

I'm no superman.

I don't know about you, but I used to narrate my own experiences constantly--not quite like J.D. on Scrubs, but more like I was framing things to share later, to imbue them with literary significance. It's a common affliction, I suppose, one that blogging was born to nourish, but in me this tendency actually pre-dates blogging; I've kept a journal in one form or another since about 1985, and sometimes it felt like my life events (however mundane) weren't processed until I'd written them down. In my early 20s, I was in a long distance relationship for years, and for awhile emails to the boyfriend took the place of writing for myself. When we broke up, the most acute feeling was that nothing I was experiencing was quite complete--I'd been so accustomed to wrapping up my day by writing everything down for him, and suddenly that capstone was gone.

I said "used to" up there in the first sentence, as though I don't do that framing stuff anymore, but that's not quite true. It's just dropped off a lot, which is okay with me because presumably it means I'm doing a better job of actually having experiences while I'm having them, instead of getting premature nostalgia before they're over.

Last week, before I got sick, I went out for a walk and as I approached the lake, I could see a huge raptor in the distance, perched up in the dead tree along the shore. I've theorized that the tree hasn't yet been cut down precisely because it's an ideal raptor perch, and over the summer we often saw giant charcoal-colored mystery birds up in the tree, usually being gawped at by other walkers.

A few steps closer, and I made out that it was a bald eagle, and that there was another one nearby, and then they both took off, flying low, right towards me. I ran into the field that separates the lake drive from the neighborhood, hippity-hopping over loads of goose poo so that I could get a better look. I stopped right in the middle of the field just as the eagles must have caught a sweet draft, because they spiraled right over me long enough that I had to start supporting my upturned head with my hands. Then they biffed off into the neighborhood to make someone else's day.

In the old days I would've written a blog post in my head while I did the rest of my walk, but check me out, it's taken like 4 days for this to come back to me. I'll still file it under midwestern magical realism and you can draw your own conclusions about what the mid-afternoon joyous aerial hijinks of eagles overhead might mean.


  1. There's a whole lot about this that resonates with me. A whooooole lot, and I, hilariously enough, don't have the energy to articulate it right now except to say that while I was never much of a journal keeper, I am constantly spinning these narratives in my mind. They usually come out as if that could possibly tell you what I was thinking when I took that picture. But I remember and I guess that'll have to be good enough.

  2. EAGLES. That's an amazing mental image.

  3. I totally often narrate my experiences in my head in terms of a later chapter of my (perhaps auto)biography. (Written once I become rich and famous and ridiculously successful, of course).

    A much better-written (auto)biography than the above paragraph would suggest, of course.