Saturday, April 6, 2013

Need to Know

I've worked in recent years to turn down the oven dial of my curiosity, from broil to around 350 F. I'm not referring here to the kind of curiosity that opens the mind, I mean the kind that's one false move away from obsession.

I love learning probably more than any other activity. I'll latch on to something - a topic, a person, a community - after which I dive in headfirst, curious to learn every last little thing about it or them. Those who read my old blog will remember my fascination with Ghengis Khan a number of years ago. A new biography had just been published. After I read that I couldn't stop. I read everything I could find about Ghengis Khan.  I watched the movie. I hoped sincerely that some piece of his DNA lives on within me. I made a video (maybe I can find it) in which Sam and Dave are singing "Soul Man' as the soundtrack while I wave whatever Ghengis Khan book I was reading in front of the camera. It got a little weird.

Before Ghengis, I was curious about the Civil War. It was soon after I moved to DC that I plunged into the energy field of that black hole. The Civil War is still unwinding.

That burning curiosity about the Civil War was, in a way, more dangerous since there are at least a billion published books about the war, not to mention films and documentaries. I devoured thousands of pages. I even watched Ken Burns' documentary in its entirety which was a challenge because he used the same song over and over and over again. That sort of thing gets on my nerves but I hung in with the documentary because I was curious. Greedy might be a better word.

There are several Civil War battlefields within a couple hour drive from DC. I visited most of them during that period, stumbled around, cried my eyes out, had past life memories and generally behaved like a nut case. It took me a number of days to recover from those battlefield visits. And yet, I kept doing it. I wanted to understand.

They say that curiosity killed the cat. There's something to that, if what we're talking about when we say curiosity includes the kind of behavior described above, hey?

I'm thinking about this because as I ponder the vision, the star shining from Freedom's crown, I want to be careful not to tip over into obsession. I worked today but could have walked down there between clients, seeking starlight. I was tempted, but restrained myself, wisely I think. Now is a good time to open my mind, become curious in a spacious way as opposed to acquisitive curiosity. The Voice in the Shower today said I should let the vision "settle."

It goes against my grain, but I am trying. Shalom.


Steve Reed said...

I love what Rebecca said in your previous post. "You can't step in the same river twice." So true!

I forgot about your Soul Man video -- ha!

Reya Mellicker said...

I couldn't find the video - probably a good thing.

Yes, Rebecca is very wise.

Tom said...

wow. Everything in moderation.
But please don't give up your obsession with picture taking!

Reya Mellicker said...

I promise I won't.

Rebecca Clayton said...

I should have quoted Heraclitus better--"You cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you."

ellen abbott said...

curiosity is good. obsession is never good. and I love that quote from Rebecca.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, and where is the line between the two? I'm always trying to figure it out.

Thank you Rebecca. Delicious quote and true!

Christine said...


Great forests you frighten me, like vast cathedrals:
You roar like an organ, and in our condemned souls,
aisles of eternal mourning, where past deathrattles
sound, the echos of your De Profundis rolls.

I hate you, Ocean! My mind, in your tumultuous main,
sees itself: I hear the vast laughter of your seas,
the bitter laughter of defeated men,
filled with the sound of sobs and blasphemies.

How you would please me without your stars, O Night!
I know the language that their light employs!
Since I search for darkness, nakedness, the Void!

But the shadows themselves seem, to my sight
canvases, where thousands of lost beings, alive,
and with a familiar gaze, leap from my eyes.

Hope you enjoy this!

Reya Mellicker said...

Exquisite! Thanks, Christine.

Kerry said...

First off: fantastic photos!! Second: your curiosity is wonderful. I love how you burrow down beneath the surface of things. So cool.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Kerry. It can get a bit out of control.