Respire / The Morphology of Potholes
I heard someone say recently that they don’t get inspired very often, and to me it was as if they were saying “I don’t breathe very often”. The word ”inspire” has a double meaning: to fill; to breathe in, and to be filled, as with feelings or ideas. It refers to both an act and a way of being acted upon – to shaping and to being shaped. In a sense, it describes both inhalation and exhalation, the cyclical process which enable things to live and grow.
Everything we encounter leaves an impression on our inner world, shaping its contours and recesses. Certain things resonate. Events, words, images, and ideas find their homes in specific spaces that have formed within us over time. They shape and enlarge those inner spaces in the same way that potholes fill with rainwater, which freezes and expands, making the hollows wider and deeper with each rotation of the seasons. All these little pockets inside us become increasingly interconnected, and thus able to catch more in their wide, finely knotted nets.
We become sensitive to nuances of gestures and make homes in ourselves precisely fitted to the emotions of those we love most. We sequester stories for future use, all intertwined in skeins called up when we search our memories for specific truths. Carved inside us are repositories for wonder, reserves of determination, reservoirs of empathy.
The more impressions the things of the world leave within us, the more meanings we ascribe to them, so that the shape of a shadow or the sound of a certain chord can fill an entire terrain of associations, compelling us to give them tangible forms. And these forms, thus crafted, leave their traces on the landscapes of those who we touch with our images and words.
But why do some individuals seem to have a greater capacity to become and remain inspired than others? Perhaps it is because they are formed of a softer material, more easily imprinted by falling rain, by passing crowds, and even by the miniscule footprints of insects…