The knowing of the child is the ominous; the wanting of the thing is the lackluster.
Both engender anxious pendululations.
I saw the knowing look of the child on Christmas Eve. I went to Berat and felt the quaffing of history, tradition, family. The bus chugged me into town, and that evening we watched forgotten home videos taken on this side of the Earth. There I am, at age three: a new American immigrant, yet back in Albania for a three-month summer stay. We were deciding whether we would remain in the US or return. We were celebrating my cousin’s first birthday.
To pendululate is to hear oneself at age three, speaking one’s mother tongue—a mother tongue that one is now re-acquiring as an almost-third language.
To pendululate is to see one’s Earlier Self remove the self from the lunch group in order to befriend a hanging towel.
It is to retrace one’s steps up the white stone staircase to the chicken coop; to hear oneself explaining to one’s family (in shrill voice) that one would theoretically eat the grapes hanging in the courtyard like this: gull-doop, gull-doop, gull-doop. It is to remember something not caught on camera: the mind-flightening flying of a chicken over one’s three-year-old head.
To pendululate is to then see an unknown video taken six years later, at age nine, sans self. One sees one’s mother, recovering from surgery and a round of chemo, saying—again in the mother tongue—that she will return to see her mother—that she aspires to regain health.
It is to question one’s father via video chat about the aforementioned recording. It is to ask him to smile, but to have him reply: Some other time. Just not today.
It is to see such a video and vomit a newly-spooned kaki: oneself. It is to know that the unknown video subject is destined for death.
Pendululations are pendulum-like ululations: ululations arising in the intellect, the emotions, amygdala, and the physical body from the constant suspension of the mind over a particular theme, moment, antojo.
To pendululate is to attempt to process, reprocess. To peacefully pendululate is to process and reprocess successfully.
To catastrophically, anxiously pendululate is to feel the Earth tilt; to fail to process and reprocess; to never let the pendulum cease.
To pendululate is to remember: more and more and again and again. Perpetual memory, perpetual ululation.
It is to see oneself at age three, twenty years earlier, breaking the fourth wall of the video, staring directly at the cameraman, and removing oneself from the group in search of the towel-friend. It is to say: some personal attributes can be foreseen from childhood. It is to think: the child retreats into the imagination, just as one recognizes the harm of it.
To pendululate is to see the fourth-wall-breaking child, to come eye-to-eye with the Earlier Self, and say: Come. Awake: there is snow on the mountain.
It is to acknowledge that the deep-rooted wanting of soil, ground, earth—the ceasing of penduluation—is futile. The wanting creates cataclysmic mind-flights but deters the peaceful kind that the lack of wanting attracts.
It is to acknowledge that the knowing of the child is the ominous, but the no-longer-wanting of anything—the child, the other, the embrace—is the ommmmm.
It is to see a dazzling post-ironic sign that reads “I feel good today” on an awful day, and to see a dull version of it when clawing to recreate and/or achieve such dazzle from pure will.
Pendululate is a verb. Pendululation is a noun, a process. People, places, things, moments: all can pendululate, be sites of pendululation, and engender pendululation.
The process of pendululation is the vertiginous; it is the fear; it is the comfort. It is the knowing of the not-knowing; it is the surprise—the unplanned joy and the unexpected fulfillment of an unknown want, unknown antojo: the voice of the mother on Christmas Eve.