Between the sun and myself on the metal railing stood two pigeons which had been made into absolute shadows. They appeared to be printed on the spherical surface of my vision, tiny birds pre-existent on my brain projected by the light of my eyes. They were momentary avatars of my ‘self-centerness’ within my world. I seemed now satellite to them: from them grew the metal railing, the deck, myself sitting and watching them, the water of The Serpentine, all of the park bounded by the expanse of my knowledge of London, then what was visible of the sky progressively unveiled by the retreating storm.
As I walked I considered the notion that we experience most truly in memory, and this seemed to be accurate in some way. In certain moments, when we are ‘traveling’ say, there is a divorce between expectation, which exists ‘pre-present’, and actuality, which by its mere reality cannot stand up to imagination. In the duality between evaluation against preexistent mental world and existing physical world, actuality acquires a strange distance of its own, as if it is more unreal than how we imagined it in the first place. In remembering the event we are able to reattach the plastic of imagination though this time colored with our chosen emotion, so that it is either a fantasy or a nightmare, but either way more ‘real’ than the moment of its experience.
But as I reflected on sitting by the lake and reading, it seemed to me that this notion was incomplete. There was a feeling in that present moment, unadulterated by expectation or memory; it was the ‘inside’ of what was physically before me, what I knew I would attempt to describe to myself as I walked away from it. I knew also that even during describing there was a feeling, an inside to that moment as well. This is the endless paradox of experience, lived out through the struggle of the writer: we live in the present moment and all the ones superseding it and to describe, to stand up and turn around, is to change bodies, to move through time, to lose and renew the position you looked out from a moment before, living, perpetual recrystallization.