bunt sign

Sunday, May 20, 2001

For some reason, I've been thinking about identity lately. If you explore your internal reality a public forum, you have to think about how, and how much, you reveal. Often that's a question of how deeply you're willing (and able) to dredge up the potentially volatile combination of feelings, thoughts and memories that make you unique.

None of us is as shallow as we come across online. We have unplumbed depths that we might not be capable of either reaching or expressing, even if that's the reason we write. If you can't fully know the person you sit across the breakfast table from every morning, how much insight can you expect to glean solely from another person's carefully chosen words?

Even when we're writing about our weaknesses and insecurities, pleading for understanding, what we leave out could be the key. We exaggerate. We forget, or remember wrong. We gloss over something, to spare our own feelings or someone else's.

Still, we persist. The more we keep trying, the more the gap closes. Maybe we let our guard down and reveal more than we intend, or something we didn't even know was there. Completing the portrait is impossible, but the details, large and small, turn a line drawing into a realistic, recognizable rendering.

It all depends on honesty. Anything false I've written in my journal can only be the result of lying to myself. If there are parts of my life I don't write about, it's a matter of choice, not deception. I'm both less and more than who you probably think I am, but I'm also exactly the person portrayed on these pages. If you met me in person and expected anything different, you'd be disappointed.

In the end, all we have is the truth — not the whole truth or the absolute truth, but the best truth we know how to tell. Anything else is a betrayal. Communication and understanding depend on trust, and whatever diminishes that trust rips a little hole in the fragile fabric that binds society together.

blackberry blossoms--watch out for thorns

The truth is, I spent a lot of time today sitting on the porch, waiting for something to happen. I had my camera ready, just in case. What I was hoping for was a shot of the two house finches perching on the beam above me. They dropped by when I was out there without the camera, but they didn't come back when I was ready.

As I was watering this evening, I caught the attention of a chattering band of bushtits that seemed to enjoy flitting around the edges of the spray from my hose. These are tiny birds that travel in a pack and move almost as if tethered together. They never stop talking to each other, and you can never predict where they're going to go next. They remind me of an under-eight soccer team, chasing the ball around.

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