Lost in the World

            Lost in an inscrutable world and running out of time.  Always running out of time – don’t you feel it?

We try to describe it to each other – what we experience, perceive, how we learn to survive.  We call this – in varying levels – relationship.  Depending on the amount of explanation and exposure, cataloguing “acquaintance,” “stranger,” “family,” “friend,” “lover,” and the like.  A kind of measure.  Recognizable connection or estrangement.

But the world is inscrutable, as are we, thus we name ourselves “lost.”  “At least we’re lost together,” some said, but others thought we’d find out more apart, in other words “split up and look for clues.”

What would the clues be for?  From whence this idea of “clues” to be searched?  I wonder this.  Did someone somewhere “find” something indicative of something really “else”?  Other than this world and we in it?

I meet one of us who “has a feeling.”  She has this “sense,” she says, that there really is an Other – something or someone truly outside of this barely discernible world we (at least) found ourselves and other things in.  I ask her to describe the feeling and her ensuing language reminds me a lot of feeling-collections I also have gotten from time to time.  Without, I might add, ever considering them Other-worldly.  What is to account for this?  These are the sorts of discussions we wanderers have.

How might I recognize a clue?  Where did the idea/referent/template for such a signifier originate?  Martin found an interesting, that is, noticeable pattern on the shell of a turtle.  It appeared roughly to resemble little squarish shapes of wood we use to count by or play games with, sometimes even to carve on and trade for fruit or grasses.  Martin thinks this might indicate that the shape we use for wood was natural – inherent in the world – purposeful.  Not coincidence or accident, but a sign or clue about “the way things are.”  There were 16 of these rectangular shapes on the turtle’s back.

“Why would you think that, Martin?” I asked.  It is curious and fun to find similarities in the world – between people, smells, shapes, sounds and colors – all sorts of things – but why wouldn’t we notice like or familiar things in new situations?  To make it feel, well, less inscrutable?  That way we could learn about the unlike, describe the difference.  This, at root, was what I understood by the word we used, or called – “learning.”

I ponder the projection that making things seem more uniform might help us feel less “lost” or confused in our surrounding world.  So I might be expected to gravitate toward humans of the same height, weight, or hair color; that  make the same sounds as me, recognize the same shapes, eat the same objects, and so forth.  Somehow this practice strikes me as less interesting, ever running out of time (as we all agreed, once we’d broken our existence up into increments) and with so much unexplored and perhaps unknowable world still surrounding us all.

I take on the habit of investigating difference – I discover that finding similarities in my surroundings comes rather easily, nearly automatically, but aspects that are unique or defamiliar tend to more efficiently further my familiarity with the world.  It becomes a strategy not of looking for clues or surfaces pointing to something else, but simply finding else everywhere.  Even in the same “place.”  There appears to be no end to variance (even in myself) and therefore no static “same.”  I find myself always finding, discovering other in every moment, the differences forever expanding my knowledge of, but also maintaining my ignorance level of, the world I find myself in.

A perpetual state of wonder.

 

Where Am I?

Where Am I?

“Space seems to be either tamer or more inoffensive than time; we’re forever meeting people who have watches, very seldom people who have compasses.  We always need to know what time it is (who still knows how to deduce it from the position of the sun?) but we never ask ourselves where we are.  We think we know…”

-Georges Perec-

 

            Feeling displaced, it seemed like the time had come to ask into it.

Judging by the quilted charcoal sky, this must have occurred in the hours between night and day or that malleable period in which what’s bright becomes the dark.

I discovered that I was uncertain as to where, indeed, I was.

 

I cast about, but given the diffuse and myopic atmosphere, my bearings were difficult to draw.

My question just grew longer.

 

Within the nondescript what seek we to describe?

 

My whereabouts.  For even about can provide a circumference of radial lines, fashioned carefully.

It seemed to me that I must have been partway.  Having begun some time ago, though ill-remembered, I must have set out in some direction, making this a point along that plane or trajectory, on the way to the someplace I am going.  But where?  Whereto?  And wherefrom?  (the brain adds wherefore?)

I’m uncertain.

Most people do certain things at certain times, so time must be a deed, I guess.  Needing neither to eat, nor to relieve myself, it must not be too early or late, nor a mealtime.  The dim and the greys, they confuse me.

The ground being solid, but whether a road or a path or a field lying fallow, I could not say.  A fogging has thickened and the chalky gravel pierced with grasses and weeds does not provide location.

The best I can wager is midst.  I appear to be in the midst of things:  of my life, of this land, of my journey and day (or evening) – beyond this it just is not clear.

 

By the look of my hands and my feet – we say “character” – it would seem I am no longer “young.”  Hair has grown dark in places, I have visible veins, and numerous scarrings and wrinkles.  I never expect them to grow and they haven’t for many years, yet they can’t be called webbed with their linings, nor aged.  The skin is tanned and supple, not spotted, the knuckles aren’t gnarly or constricted.  Improvement or beauty I do not anticipate, but it appears I am not quite undone, not decrepit.

I’d guess I am “over the hill,” as they say, but still in reach of my prime.  A certain flair or panache, but the style of the action requires more will.  And attention.  Strong, yet not powerful.  Active, not quite agile.  Competent, not convincing.

 

I sit down.  The weeds and the grass are grey-green, grown in tufts.  The gravel is packed and yet dusty.  The stones are not worn but all small.

I trace my palms over the surface.

My legs feel the pain of my back.

I rise up.

I would find it much easier to lean.

I step forth.

 

I smell no particular smells – almost rain, dusty remnants, a particular quality of air, but what?  (From where?)  Neither salted nor briny exactly, I must not be near to the sea.  Not fuelly or floral, musty nor pale, I scratch off city and countryside, forests or plains.  And not fertile.  The air is just as you’d imagine it wherever the sky meets the land – in the absence of obvious effects (are they causes?) – just me.

 

It hasn’t grown lighter, nor darkened.

I breathe.

From the sound of it (silent) and its fullness, my lungs must be doing their job, performing their roles without much complaint.  As also my heart and my brain, liver and plumbworks.  I think I may have heard insects or birds, but the distance so vast I’d fail to call the sense knowledge.  And I mentioned I cannot see far.  These conditions.

 

I’d say it’s uncanny – to find myself here – but that’s exactly what I cannot find.

 

I reach out.

I step forth.

I breathe in.

 

Where am I?

 

If my memory served, as to where I’d last been, such info would greatly assist me.  But the best I remember is “home,” and that has been so many places.

I spread my arms and slowly spin, they cut the air like freedom.  I feel like a ray of light or drop of rain, something passing quickly, staying still.  As if I belonged…

belonged just here…

but where…

…am I?…

 

(How long do I have?)