Wednesday, September 27, 2006

brittle thinking

Some might say television is the opiate of the masses. I believe that used selectively and critically it can be educational, valid, and inspiring.

On Monday I watched people frozen to save their lives. Particularly striking was the woman trapped under ice - feet up through a hole, held tight as her last link to the surface world. Head half submerged in freezing water. Slowly slowing down. Thoughts, blood, heartbeats. Losing heat, losing life. Till nothing - silence, stillness, stasis. Hours while she is dug out, held, handled, carried and flown to the most northerly hospital in the world. Then peered at, poked and monitored. Slowly warmed - welcomed back into softness and movement. Breath revisits - movement remembered - life returned.

I watch and then I turn from the screen and I think.

Only the cold saved her. We mammals need warmth to survive, but she needed cold. A step outside of the rules of nature. An inversion of how things should be. I think of the relationship between heat and cold. How one can feel like the other. How ice can burn. They are opposites. Like life to death. In one always the other.

I think of all those mottos - what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, kill or be killed, no pain no gain. I think about what is being killed. Kill the senses, kill the desires, kill the instinct to cling to the thinning thread.

And then I think about myself, and how sometimes I know how she feels. I call them my everyday winters. I have to invert myself to a reversed 45 degrees. I have to freeze out consciousness, freeze myself in. Hibernation of the mind. I have to hold my breath and close my eyes. I have to play dead. You might not notice - the signs are subtle but there. A crispness to my tone and occasional visible breath. Suspended - just till the tides of time carry me beyond today. To a place more welcoming, a place with smoother edges. A place where I begin to thaw.

Friday, September 22, 2006

writing to reach you

This is the plant that stands to my left. My witness when I come here to write. She always cries exactly one day after I water her. And I always wonder why.

Perhaps she cries in gratitude - that I have now remembered her, when for weeks I have passed by without a glance in her direction. Perhaps she cries for being nameless - all because I carelessly lost her label soon after we met. Her closest neighbour is a lemon tree - so perhaps she cries tears of inferiority because she lacks a vivid scent.

Maybe she cries because she is looking in when she should be looking out. Longing to break the glass that keeps the sky at bay. Maybe she misses for the smell of the damp soil in the evening or the midnight whispers of a passing snail.

I think she cries at the memory of the sounds of standing in the rain, the sensation of the sky as it falls and collects on her leaves.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

memories form a disorderly queue

You’ve left the towels on the line again. One grey one. One blue one. Two hand towels. You’ve only got two hand towels. You’ve only got two hands. Our line - a green metal contraption strung with yellow plastic string. Also sporting a plastic peg basket full of plastic pegs.

I remember when we had wooden ones that darkened when wet. That squeaked when I snapped them open and closed. Making crocodile smiles. Despite warnings I couldn’t resist clipping them to my lips or the tip of my tongue. Speechless. The surprise greeting of pain. Always sharper and more lingering than you think.

I remember fetes with stalls where people broke those wooden pegs apart and reassembled them into new things. I had a rocking chair made of pegs - a miniature one, of course. Something used to sit in it. A doll, or more likely a bear, or more likely a duck. I forget the inhabitant but I remember the chair. So often the way.

You’ve left the towels on the line again. Drenched each night by summer storms, they begin each day a little heavier than the last. Don’t we all. Through the day they doze a dream of evaporation, casting off a haze of concern. Their only lingering worry - that they may be left there till winter to freeze stiff and snap. Don’t we all. Eventually.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

reflect what you are

Last Monday I found a place that never took the time to find me. I saw seas of green and leaves that choose to linger. And I saw these shining fragments of infinity, raised a quarter way to the sky.

Ever intrigued, I pulled on my disguise to mingle with the locals as they perched on their branches and their backs of benches. And they explained this monument - this tribute to their abandonment of vanity.

For birds have no need for reflection - enough that they appear in each others eyes. They have no desire to admire their images. Why would you if you could fly?