Friday, June 19, 2009

Hours Passed : Forlorn Chairs

I wonder if any one else ever sees their days as a series of chair sits; as a movement from one sedentary session to another. One sits in one's car or bus or subway or boat. One moves to one's desk before one's computer or snags a seat at the back of a classroom. One maybe takes a bathroom break... One shuffles on to one's lunch and sits at the corner cafe or on a cafeteria bench. One moves back to one's desk. One gets back into one's car or bus or subway or boat. One lands home at the dinner table and passes another meal. One plops down on one's sofa to catch a sitcom or into one's bed to read a chapter before falling into the longest sedentary session of all... sleep. And the cycle of sitting begins the next morning, just as it did the day before.

In all these stages, are we missing out on an opportunity, is our time better sat elsewhere? As Billy Collins observes, we're in need of some pause for the sake of remembering...
You see them on porches and on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed
a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.

Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.

It might be none of my business,
but it might be a good idea one day
for everyone who placed those vacant chairs

on a veranda or a dock to sit down in them
for the sake of remembering
whatever it was they thought deserved

to be viewed from two chairs
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high and massive that day.

The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
Then there is nothing but the sound of their looking,

the lapping of lake water, and a call of one bird
then another, cries of joy or warning—
it passes the time to wonder which.

- The Chairs That No One Sits In

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