I write to you in the midst of a terrifying, electrifying storm. Honey Girl is huddled in the corner of the kitchen downstairs and will stay there for awhile or for hours, maybe, depending on what happens here. The storm has been overhead for about 15 minutes so far: it is close, loud, and electric–probably hitting the river. It reminds us of how lucky we are to have shelter, but also to let go of any certainties. Just as the storm will whip through or crawl and wreak devastation in its wake or not, everything else is in constant change too. Our cells, the air, our feelings, memories.
As Nao, the sixteen-year old would-be suicide artist of A Tale for the Time Being says, after watching her wise grandma die: “Everything in the universe is constantly changing, and nothing stays the same, and we must understand how quickly time flows by if we are to wake up and truly live our lives.
“That’s what it means to be a time being, old Jiko told me, and then she snapped her crooked fingers again.
And just like that, you die.
The rumbling has moved on and the rain with it. All one can hear now is the dripping eves, and footsteps below, a distant TV, a car. And the clock just struck nine.
Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (New York: Penguin, 2013), 408.