“From the Dao there comes one. From one there comes two. From two there comes three. From three there comes all things.”
He loves routines; he has many and they share a few. A favorite of hers is watching the migratory flight of crows over downtown on their shared commute home. Same time every day (“magic hour”), a reminder that the earth continued rotating as they clicked away on keyboards.
The crows fly every sunset like clockwork, bringing death, of the day, of the sun, of another minute inching by. 5pm.
Since time ticks slowly with routines, she prefers the clock hand speeding by – the faster each second, the easier to lose track.
The death of a year. A first year.
The first year together is life on fast-forward. Each kiss, each secret, flying by, losing shape, losing track.
Endings come before origins. Packing beach gear, a trip to Hawaii, she hesitates, anxious of the inevitable sadness of a flight home.
That was five years ago. Time is malleable. They moved North, got a dog, started sharing a commute in a leased Subaru – they fell into routine. From predictability sprang protracted reality, a favorite movie on repeat: understood, disengaged, but with a smile.
She became rash, searched externally for quicker pacing.
“What if we move to Berlin?” she queried. Her husband, nesting, less than stoked. Not sure what they’d do when they got there. But chaos, she says, makes time move quickly. “We’re moving forward, or we’re standing still.”
They’d split the difference. Party in the desert. Listen to music in the grass. Up all night, then back to real life. Time flies by.
It’s 5pm again. Colorfully costumed people danced and sang, unaware of slipping sunlight.
Making its rotation around the earth, the sun. The rotation of the clock, this time, two days from now: putting away the keyboards in downtown. Endings before origins.
The mind wandering to some unwritten future – work, the dog, packing, 6am alarm clock.
Free spirit, desert vibes: too beautiful to spoil with anxiety. So instead she looks up.
And she caught, in perfect coordination, a flock of crows heading west.
The birds fly every sunset like clockwork, same thing, different place, different day, all now. Content in their moment, assured of routine. Separate objects moving on their own violation, but flow in Union.
Emergent. Like an index finger touching the thumb: aware of itself. The form of the crows: originates through each other.
There are between 50 and 75 trillion cells in the body. Some only live four months. Some, four days. Like the birds, always becoming. Our cells, bringing moments into being.
All crows releasing. Childhood friends, Hawaiian vacations, dances in the desert, our selves.
This moment. This moment. This moment is the origin. The Phoenix springs into being.
She smiles, becoming.
Smiles to herself and then smiles at him.
Kisses him on the cheek.
Like light off a mirror, he smiles back.
A separate object of its own violation:
“Hey, check out those birds,” he says.
Nat PW is a storyteller, painter, performance artist, book collector, bird watcher, list maker.