|Auguste Renoir "The Lovers" 1875 |
The End of My Affairs
by Judith Cullen
I freely admit to falling in love with projects. Not just interest or intrigue, but full head-over-heels, scream-and-shout IN LOVE.
An idea begins to form in my mind like a swirl of fog around a rocky headland, taking shape in leaps and gasps of excited inspiration. They coalesce into an appealing figure that calls to me, beckoning me to run barefoot through fields with it, and drink deeply from its potentialities, lose myself all-together in its fascinating aspects. My pulse races with anticipation, and I feel the giddy animation at the precipice of falling.
Over I go, willingly, brain filling with electrical delectation, hurtle-and-tumble I fall into the waiting embrace of the idea and hungrily consume its every offered opportunity. Some days we hold hands and stroll through well-ordered parks of sense and logic, speaking soberly and calmly of philosophy and the nature of being. Some days we laugh wildly, hysterically, running pell-mell through winding boulevards of "this" or "that" and things almost entirely unassociated except in our passion-inflamed consciousness.
I want it to last, and I always kid myself that it will. I want to feel that thrill for as long as possible: the willingness to fall, the irrational appeal of something fresh, the connection with the spark and its opportunities, the exciting process of creation - reaching for what lies at the end on the one path where all the possibilities align into something wonderfully whole. I don't want that feeling to go away.
But, it always does, and it always will I suppose. The wane is inevitable. Who could maintain that kind of energy forever? Certainly not the happiness and pride at what comes of all this inventive elation - that abides, thankfully. But as my project and I are wrapped around each other, admiring what we have created, the dopamine high of achievement gives way to the inevitable denouement that signals closure of this particular affair.
|The Kiss by Gustav Klimt 1905-1907|
I resist. I do not want this, or any lover, to leave. The project reaches out a hand to caress my face, wiping away a tear with his thumb and smiling fatefully at me as he fades into what has been, and I reluctantly turn to face what will be.
I wonder if this moment would be less painful, as it always is, if I took more time to appreciate the affair while it is fully blossoming - to live "in" it. If I stopped and took a breath, thinking "I need to enjoy this as it is right now," acknowledging it silently as something finite that will not endure. Would the moment of parting then be less difficult?
Or am I destined to fly from one heady affair to the next, letting ideas sweep me off my feet, fill me with daily anticipation for what new adventure they will lead me on, and smiling - oh the smiles! - at every exhilarating second that we spend together creating. Who can say? Not me, it seems, for I am usually too busy falling in love all over again.