16 January 2012

melancholy

twelve days ago i moved and eleven days ago i started a new job. and it feels like everything in my life has changed – like i’m stuck in the middle of a cartwheel. i’m hanging there, examining my new life from the air, wondering if i like it, all the blood rushing to my head. it’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and honestly a hard couple of weeks. i’m grateful for this mortal experience. i hope i can learn what i need to learn, because i know that this place and time has been written into my life curriculum by a divine hand.

the emotions i had in my last few days living in the city were peculiar. as i took a little extra time to notice my life around me as it passed by gauzy and slow, i kept thinking of the word melancholy. once, a dear friend told me while we watched a golden ocean sunset that she felt feelings of melancholy connected to moments when something beautiful comes to an end, like the last lingering strains of a sunset. we talked about how there is such true sorrow connected with the inevitable death of temporal beauty, but it’s a kind sorrow, a lovely sorrow, an ennobling sorrow - the savory dust of beauty left behind. we came up with a definition something like this:

melancholy -- an emotion of strangely sweet sadness upon realizing the temporality of something very truly beautiful.

such was the state of my heart in my last days living in san francisco. brim with this peculiar brand of emotion that felt so sad and so resplendent at the same time. i love being human because i get to feel like that.

keats wrote a poem called “ode to melancholy"”:

she dwells with beauty—beauty that must die;
  and joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
bidding adieu; and aching pleasure nigh,
  turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
ay, in the very temple of delight
  veil’d melancholy has her sovran shrine,
though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
  can burst joy’s grape against his palate fine;
his soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
  and be among her cloudy trophies hung.

the sadness i have felt leaving places i love is certainly among my highest trophies of mortality. and now, in a new life, i am learning (again) to chose to be happy, to work and strive and press forward to “burst joy’s grape against [my] palate fine,” so that one day when i leave this new home, melancholy will return.

there is indeed some beauty that never dies, some elements of humanity that don’t evoke melancholy because they are not temporary at all – and those exquisite and ultimate beauties are my fondest dreams and the purpose of life to discover.

last few days in my city by the bay:
-riding the train and the bus watching people
-embracing the movement and energy and electricity of the city going from the shop to the kiosk
-opting to walk everywhere and feeling alive
-being cozy by the christmas tree at home and while nannying
-heavy peace in the temple
-driving across the bay bridge – never gets old
-walking to mt. davidson in the sun – ethereal light
-watching the sunset from my roof and listening to latika’s theme
-going to the nutcracker with my boss – fantastic view from box seats, tingly fingertips during the snow scene, hot coco and cookies at intermission
-having a late night pancake party with my roommates

photo(66)photo500

2 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy your zest for life and your testimony. :)

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  2. Oh man you have an amazing mind! Love the poem. so deep and true. The thrill of the past will return as you find thrill in the present and the future. Somehow, in ways you can't now know, this new great career will stand you in good stead as you launch into this new beginning.

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