Aspiration: a good Latin/English word that still balances perfectly the twin meanings desire and breath. My aspiration for Via Negativa is simple and (I presume) obvious: whether or not inspiration strikes – or lands, or blossoms, or rises from the earth – to write something anyway, at least six days a week.

Aspiration, inspiration, perspiration. Always that spire at the heart of it!

But how to keep breathing when you’re surrounded by dirt? Sing as low as you can:

I wish I was a mole in the ground.
I wish I was a mole in the ground.
‘Cause if I was a mole in the ground
I’d tear them mountains down.

(Old folksong)

Hey, there’s a thought!

At some point in writing down my pretend afternoon and evening, I understood that it was not only possible for me to do what I had decided to do. It was inevitable. It had in fact been inevitable since (at the very least) I left the office with the conviction that my drift had to stop.

In other news, Andi’s back from pilgrimage (wherever “back” may be). I urge you to read both of her lengthy posts about it. (The link to her first doesn’t work, for some reason, but it’s still on the main page – scroll down to “Sarnath: Do the Hokey-Pokey!”). She inadvertently provides strong, circumstantial evidence supporting an assertion I made here just last week concerning the difference between a journey and a pilgrimage. The latter might provide a better model for the course of a human life, I thought, because of its superior power to change us, to make us question ourselves and the goal and origin of the trip. Andi says,

The shrine at Lumbini was rather unattractive, a squat whitewashed brick box over the archaeological work at the site of the Buddha’s birth (marked with an extraordinarily precise stone). But it radiated a kind of peaceful calm, and people came to bow, meditate, circumambulate, and pray. It was wonderful. I was sad to leave Lumbini, but I had gotten a special 3-day visa (side-stepping a rather large 30$ visa fee) and had to leave.

And then, Bodh-gaya.

And here, my mind stops. The words won’t come.

But of course they do. It’s as natural as breathing.

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