Thursday, January 31, 2013

Breakdown Boxes

 I had been photographing blue sky and water and a bee that had landed on a flower and driftwood on the beach.  I was walking back to my place along the houses on Officer’s Row at Fort Worden in Port Townsend,  when I noticed the trash cans of various kinds, labeled for glass and plastic and non-recyclables.  My eye was drawn to what I took to be a misuse of a direction to break down the boxes and put them in this place.  I chuckled at the bending of the English language when two words become uncomfortable as one, snapped a photograph, and felt smug in catching an unintended joke.  When I noticed the boxes that had been stuffed into that container, I understood  differently.  Yes, in fact, some people do use beer as a breakdown box.  Some people use drugs,  Some people use escape and  addiction, we’ll just put it at that.
     But we all have our different breakdown boxes because we all, at one time or another, no matter our age or status or education or background or region or sex or ethnicity or any of the labels that separate us, come together in person-ness, because we all eventually have some sort of ritual of breakdown.  When the blip comes, we instinctively reach for something or someone who can balance our beam, who can teeter our totter, who can homeo our stasis.  Off kilter and off balance is the land we often inhabit before growth. Sometimes it’s a scary land and to contain it we need a box. A breakdown box.  A container that holds us  as we slowly climb out and make our way back to blossom, to be the opening flower, face to the smiling sun, the comforting moon. 

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