"If you dream of something worth doing…it is a wonderful dream even though
it is a long way off, for there are about five thousand steps to be taken before we realize it; and start by taking the first ten…"
But on December 23, the day Edwin Land gave this speech to his employees in 1942, I'm distracted from celebrations and rituals, already thinking too far ahead. I'm restless and flailing to define my next move in an irresolute blur.
However timely, I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions because they tend to get broken. Usually, after a strong start, intention wavers or distraction takes root like weeds in the garden of promises and I am left to feel sad for my lack of commitment. Here's the thing. A plan is not always a solution, intent is not always transformative. Definitions are risky, skewed by perspective and often contradictory. Paradox is rearing its impish beanie.
Paradox is a theme I have long examined with fondness, and question. The push and pull of opposites that create movement and energy in painting, stitching, arguments, randomness and planning…and the side by illusive-sided truths of a word that conjure puzzles and ironic conclusions.
Paradox surfaced recently in a conversation about imbalance - a kind of metaphor for this bi-polar paradigm. I imagined an elegant seesaw, teetering at 12 o'clock until I slipped woefully to one end. I have been drifting lately on a sea of indecision, my boat tossing haphazardly on emotional waters. Will it sink; should I jump ship? Can I muster the strength to swim? Should I paddle to the closest island or marathon to a farther yet rockier shore?
This uncertainty is the stagnant compost of waiting for a signal or someone else to point, when intention is muddied by glowing distractions or distant horizons. I'm a sucker for gorgeous panoramas. But in this moment of surveying the landscape, when I should be breathing in the restorative air, I'm fixed on the dizzying inspiration it conjures, like a wide-angle view of an interminable blank canvas of possibility. The tinder of missing those unsung gems, buried in a wake of impatience.
(Uncertainty principle: Attempts to determine position must disturb momentum, and vice versa. (Quantum mechanics Paradox))
So in the spirit and light of paradox, that mutable position defined by point of view, I'm taking this opportunity to stop, however momentary, on the fulcrum of a well-balanced outlook to survey more closely that last deep footprint and the next single step on the ground, needle in hand…my only resolution.