Sunday, March 8, 2009

One Single Impression -- fork in the road

alternative realities

take a breath,
speak a word,
make a choice,
life branches.

©sgreerpitt
Sunday March 8, 2009


Life is a painting by pointillist Georges Seurat, it may seem from a distance as a continuous pattern, but it is composed of tiny moments, an accretion of thousands of minute choices. Although every life has a few moments when we consciously make big decisions that alter our trajectories, more often our paths are directed by the small everyday choices that we make. It is only in retrospect that we realize that we have, in fact, chosen one "fork" over another.

One of my favorite movies Sliding Doors (1998), starring Gwyneth Paltrow, takes a fraction of a second, the time it takes to decide to leap forward before the subway door closes or stay put and take the next train, to trace two separate paths for a young woman. In real life, we can never know what our path would have been like if we chose differently, acted differently. This is true whether the moment of choice and branching is obvious to us (Shall I take this job? Say "yes" to this man?) or seemingly inconsequential and routine (Shall I hit the snooze bar again? Shall I stop and speak or hurry on my way?).

Our lives become what they are as a result of that multitude of daily actions, each one takes us along one of the forks of possibility rather than another.

Painting by Georges Seurat, Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, Normandy, 1888, Image from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the W. Averell Harriman Foundation in memory of Marie N. Harriman 1972.9.21

14 comments:

Deborah Godin said...

Enjoyed reading this thoughtful post, the perespective on choices. And I have always loved the paintings of Seurat since my student days!

SandyCarlson said...

Your explanation of pointillism is beautiful, as is your poem. Thanks, Sue!

anthonynorth said...

Thoughtful. I suppose if life wasn't like a revolving door it would be so boring at times.

Amias said...

I love "Sliding Doors".

Sue, I always find something refreshing to read when I drop in. You write some very interesting and through provoking posts.

But your poem, it takes my breath away .. as its meaning is so very simple, and yet so very profound.

zoya gautam said...

lovely

Geraldine said...

Absolutely stunning words Sue. They will remain with me to ponder this week.

BTW, I want to see that movie now after reading your words.Hugs, G

Tumblewords: said...

The idea that pointillism is made of tiny moments is wonderfully fine. Opens a new vein of thought...
Sliding Doors was a movie I enjoyed, too!

Quiet Paths said...

I too enjoyed your description of Seurat. And your verse resonates with me very much.

qualcosa di bello said...

i very much like the elemental, positive movement in your words

suzanne cabrera said...

Beautiful poetry. You have a wonderful way of evoking imagery...

Regina Marie said...

This was great..a beautiful picture -a paving the way- came to my mind.

Qaro said...

Nice!

I think you're going to cause a run on the movie, Sliding Doors! You'll know who to blame if it lingers in your NetFlix queue! : )

fourwindshaiga said...

So much knowledge in so few words. A really nice post, Sue.

Beth P. said...

Yes, it does. And in my good moments, I am keenly aware of how each breath brings huge choices: to love or not. To live or not.

Thank you for your words and the stunning image.