Mean Free Path by M. Pitter


Usually, there will be a tomorrow tomorrow as there was a yesterday yesterday. Each day expanding and contracting, sun to moon, moon to sun, in harmonic regularity. We like to freeze phases to call one ‘now’, to call another one ‘next Thursday night at 8PM’ and another one ‘last Saturday afternoon’. Meanwhile we propagate like sound from one experience to another. Some experiences strike more resonate chords than others, as we bounce from people to scenarios to people and scenarios, following a mean-free-path* with our eyes often directed behind us.

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*(A mean-free-path describes the straight and unwavering, yet random distance and trajectory taken by gas molecules in between collisions with other gas molecules).

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Colliding into the ‘loudly rare-and-pleasant’ creates and blooms echoes to reverberate clarity, luster and euphony, all oscillating in constant crescendo, like keeping the mind and memory set on the best part of a weekend or on a victory, a new lover or on a mentally stimulating segment of music: basically, a brief but seismic euphoria that drowns out any notion of a structure or rigid formula guiding our passage through time. Separation from the daily routine reveals its monotonous tendencies and its loose grasp on the things that can happen to us from Day 1 to Day 2 to Day 3 through to Day n.

Mean Free Path 2 by Michael Pitter
photo by M.Pitter/In Parentheses

Then we collide into the ‘loudly rare-and-cacophonous’, pulling the ground from beneath our feet. For example, we all remember where we were during 9-11 and how we perhaps felt (at some point) suspended in some viscous malaise of paranoia and disillusionment. And these days, we marvel at the events that occurred in Copley Square right across the street from the Boston Public Library (including the events that followed). Reverberating (in at least the American conscience) is this curious suspicion that we live in the midst of impending danger, that there is a source of all this havoc and confusion to which to point. If we do not point soon, soon we will be among the next victims to take shrapnel to the skull. These days, anxiety and impulsiveness oscillate in the minds of many in response to the nature of 2013 Boston Marathon ‘collision’. (Of course, the American people have the benefit to view the Boston Marathon bombings and the collapse of the World Trade Center as ‘loudly rare-and-cacophonous’ events, but here, these are the circumstances. Elsewhere has its own loud rarities.)

Nevertheless, the mean free path is followed while followers have more of a view of the trajectory traveled rather than a view of the trajectory ahead because all that which was traveled composes a great percentage of the follower’s knowledge. So, indeed, the follower is doomed to collide into some loudly rare entity, the nature of the entity cannot be known until impact and only then can the follower bear witness to or engage in the constant echo, the briefly eternal reminder that the ‘collision’ happened.

 

 

(cover photo by M.Pitter/In Parentheses)

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