Monday, August 28, 2006

impossible paleontology

Like city streets I’m a one way system. I can read or I can write. Things come in and things go out. Never both at the same time.

If I splay myself wide and walk with one foot on each side of the street - one in the sun and one in the shade I can waddle along for a while. But its tough and progress is slow, and neither side gets full attention.

At the moment the reading side of the street has caught my eye. I am looking in all the windows and buying the wares (all in the name of my Booker 2006 experience).

But the shady side suffers. Largely unwalked, my pages curl from sunlight rather than heavily laid words. Poised, my pen gathers frustrated ink at its tip.

Thoughts arrive and depart un-netted. I look up from a book at an unfamiliar howl or hoot. A funny looking face beckons me closer. I write a hasty note-to-self. A reminder to come back later and catch this crazy beast - to pin and mount him and lay him on display in this maudlin museum of freakery.

But when I return, a few days later - follow the scanty signpost I left myself - I find nothing but dust and bones of the rarest kind.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

all the streets are crammed with things eager to be held

This is yesterday. I am being chased away from a place I don’t belong. Raced home from a quick trip to collect some books from the library. Dodging occasional raindrops that threaten to re-punctuate my sentences. Evading normalitys glance as it threatens to dull my senses.

This town is not mine. It is too full of people cleaning their cars. Husbands with sponges and a shine on their mind. Wives feet sticking out of back doors as they Hoover up conjugal crumbs. Too many people carry shopping bags bulging with Saturday routine. Too many people are holding hands, clinging together for safety, like children crossing a road.

As I speed away from today I see that I am feather racing. A small whiteness is dragged along in my slipstream - pulled on by the weight, speed and intensity of me. Or is it the other way round? Does it draw me on, forever tied by forgotten ancestry. Shared avian pasts - forgotten by everyone but the leaves.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

one shade more, one ray less

She walks in blue. Barefoot and true. Her clothes nothing more than fibres laid between herself and her sky. Toes that could turn the tide if they chose to.

All the seagulls move aside - only to watch her. To watch her continue on her way. White and grey. Skin tanned to breakwater brown. Soundlessly, endlessly on.

Around the edges of this island. Never questioning why. Her commitment keeps us safe. It breaks a space for us to sit high and dry - observing her progress.

She walks because she knows. Knowing enough to know. That sometimes the tide is high, sometimes low.

[I see her but she is not mine to watch. My walker walks at night - when my eyes are closed and I cant see her. My walker walks on rainy days - when I am buried indoors under papers and dirty looks.]

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I aint got time for the game

From either side of the screen people smile or scream and demand we consider the meaning of life. But don’t they realise I have spent my time doing little else? And I am getting closer to an answer.

And the answer is looking a lot like the puzzle known as the Towers of Hanoi.

When I was little, my Dad and I subscribed to a computer magazine. Each issue had lines and lines of BASIC code. We would type it in, letter by number, line by line and then hit ‘RUN’. We programmed this puzzle. Ever since it has fascinated me. You can play it here.

Did you enjoy it? did it drive you crazy?

It’s a lot like life. Its all about making little moves, one step at a time to get closer to where you want to be. Even though that place is only a few steps from where you started. You have to learn early on never to put a heavy load onto a foundation that cant hold it up. You have to keep a tight hold on your patience. You always have to think one or more steps ahead. You have to be prepared to accept that sometimes you will feel like you are moving backwards.

And just like life - its best played calmly, with all the time in the world, a cup of tea, and a quiet room all to yourself.