Monday, August 11, 2008

Plasticity by Patresa Hartman.

Two things are rocking my socks today: 1) The early hint of a new realization; and 2) the plasticity of my brain.

This weekend I learned of a man with a spirit as big as a child's who built a house that's basement was reachable by slide instead of staircase. The father of three and a National Guardsman, he designed and built the house himself, completing all but the final cosmetics before being called to duty. Before he left for Iraq, he told his family that he had built a secret room into the house, and they were to find it. They looked and looked, making game of the search (which distracted them temporarily from their missing), but did not find the secret room until the man returned and unlocked the hidden door.

The weekend proved very educational, because I also learned that a man I have known for thirty-four years was someone completely different. Actually, that's not correct. I learned that I have only known him in one dimension -- one that was cold and concrete, all steel and pathology. But something has shifted.

Either I have evolved, vision sharpened, or he has evolved, sharpness softened. As I am seeing him now, sturdy frame failing and the bulk of his life strung behind him as a wake, he is multi-layered. There is love where I believed there to be none (oddly manifested, nontraditionally directed, but present, nonetheless). And even the concept of love has gone watery and subjective.

I am obsessing over these two stories, which I believe are the same -- the man with the secret room, and the man with the secret self -- and it's exciting. I feel like I am on the verge of understanding something big and important -- something about evolution and self and love and cruelty and the way boundaries are liquid.

And that brings me to the plasticity of my brain. I am so grateful for all the things I do not know or understand, because the discovery (even when it is only an almost-discovery) is exhilarating. I love that my mind maps are still willing to disassemble and reconfigure. I cherish the easy evolution of us, when we are willing to flow.


Kathryn Magendie said...

Another brilliant piece of writing, P. (of course, it's not just about the writing itself, but that is the "this is understood" part of the comment).

Barbara Quinn said...

Yes.. funny how the fact that we can never know it all is humbling and exciting at the same time. Made me think of our brains as our playgrounds or amusement parks.Loved it.

MargyWrites said...

You amaze me with your ability to unveil the profundity of the simplest things. I too am grateful for the things I do not know. And for the constant opportunity to learn.

Thanks, P. I needed this today.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Wow, what an awesome post! Thank you for sharing some of your brain's flow with us.

Many of the lines/thoughts you wrote could easily go into a short story or novel or poetry or whatever. (Here's my fav: "Either I have evolved, vision sharpened, or he has evolved, sharpness softened.")

And I think you've found the commonality of the three things piquing your interest right now (the soldier who built the secret room, the new/old relationship in which you now see a different dimension, and the plasticity of the brain)-- if we search long, patiently and openly enough, we will find the key to unlock the mystery. This I believe. Happy hunting!

Joanne said...

Love the plasticity concept. It seems pretty amazing because it's infinite in the capabilities it allows in learning.

Ami said...

Beautiful. I, too, love that exhilaration of realization (or partial-understanding). Something in me sparks as my mind begins to wrap itself around a new piece of knowledge or I have yet another "aha" moment. I know a very similar experience with a man in my life. When it occurred to me that for 30 years I had only seen what I wanted (or was able, I'm not sure which) to see, I was shocked, surprised, elated. There was something new there (or had it always been there?) and finally the pain and fear and sadness began to melt away.

Your writing is always such an inspiration to me.

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