168: “A Flute Can Be Made Of A Man” (Ross Gay)

a flute can
be made of a man
nothing is explained
a flute lays
on its side
and prays a wind
might enter it
and make of it
at least
a small final song
                
-Ross Gay, “ode to the flute,” Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

                I used to think that life was about becoming something, about building my fire higher, shining my thoughts brighter. What if, instead, I lived trying to make myself a flute, to hold myself in a way that lets a wind blow through me. Held that way, what I am is not that important. The song is important. Or maybe, better still, “important” is a silly word. There is this bit of moving me. There is a world. The winds and the stuff I’m made from have lasted for lengths of time that I can’t quite imagine. (I’m trying; it’s fun to try). I can build walls to hold back all this around me. I can open up to it, and let it sing through me. My choice? Yes, my choice–but not all choices are the same.
                Nothing is explained. I don’t think that’s a threat, or a complaint, or a plea. I think it’s an observation. We learn and wonder, question and explore. We make discoveries about how light bends or plants lift water above our heads. We make art about color and movement. Our knowledge brings us closer to the mystery, but it doesn’t explain our curiosity or how come the laws are as they are. We learn how the world turns, but that’s not really an answer. Things reach to us with their existence, not their explanations. As they blow by we can struggle, or open our mouths and let them sing.

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