Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Where do I go when I am absent? Think about it. Think how relative the term absent is. I am never really absent. I am always somewhere. Likewise, strictly speaking, I am never there, but always here.

Where have I been when my mind has wandered, when I have lost track of time and place and gone somewhere else? And then suddenly I find myself again and am back? I was lost. Now I’m found. And I was always here. Or was I?

Questions of absence and presence have interesting implications for thinking about places. There are ways one can be present and also absent (certain immigrants, for instance, or any member of disenfranchised communities), or absent and also present (the presence of an otherwise "absent" lobbyist in legislative memories, for instance). Places not only mean different things to different people, people can be more or less in those places at the same time as well.

The photo above was on one of my walks where a good Samaritan planted grass to cover a muddy spot and then left the neighborhood: the grass grew and grew, went to seed, and lay down, spent. The sower is gone. The grass dead. Both are elsewhere.

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