Friends to Fall

Elf says “ripe.”

Martin responds, wondering.  Curious as to that which it applies, or whom, or what.  Contemplating reference.  Filled with questions.  Martin says, “yes,” almost under his breath.

Elf shrugs.  Elf walks on.

Martin follows, thinking, looking at leaves falling into blades of grass, alerted by the shushing and darting of squirrels, saddened at the amplified pffft of cars passing by.  Wishing for silence.  Wondering if Elf will speak a further word or two.  Sensing like a dowsing rod for meanings.

Walks on.  Shuffles.  Walks on.

Martin, too.

There’s a relative silence from the two of them – these humans wandering across a concreted trail.  Sure there’s the sound of their footfalls, scuffles, even some noise in the pause of it.  Or the noise of the absence of noise.  But you’d have to be different to hear the breathing, the heart pulse, the slide of muscles and blood.  As far as humans-in-environs go, the pair presents retraction.

Hard to say for soil.  The squares composing sidewalk must suffer pressure, absorbed by the earth beneath and shared out through verberations for miles.  Hard to say for air.  Full-grown males, plodding forth like prows along a rickety line-of-motion has to be pushing particles around, making waves.  Nothing gives report.

Elf stops and sighs.

Martin responds, slowing, looking out, looking forward, looking round.  Lets his hands limp his sides.

Elf crouches down.

Martin scans the street, examines bark, follows trunks and branches, admires leaves and colors and movements.  Birds.

Elf.

Martin.

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Seasons

What’s happening now…and why I’m not writing much – reading, teaching, librarying, parenting…

Invisible Man Chronicles – Pt. 1

The times have been odd and I’ve been at pains to record them.  Here is a series I began recently in attempts to account for my life over the past 6 months or so… for what they’re worth.  In this current apparent “season” of ongoing stress related to surviving I am culling old notebooks for substance and will begin posting as I find time to type them. \

Kansas Ruins

Invisible Man Chronicles

            Six months ago, things were different.  I found myself unable to breathe, in England, windswept and drowned out in a kind of panicked grief – a she had proficiently evacuated my life, my home, a marriage… a business, a practice… The weather was cold and drizzly – melancholy, hibernatory, reflexive.  One might say: “Winter.”  My return would be to four children, now employment, no sustenance, no inner strength, little support and a home hardly emptied of her artifacts.  She had literally flown away.

Seasons in Kansas are cyclically exemplary.  Summer – hell-hot, a dry blowing flame, readings often surpassing 100.  Winter is a subzero freeze – bitter blizzards and veils of ice – both producing post-apocalyptic land.  Autumn, as is idealized, a gradual and colorful falling away – temperatures, foliage and field – a clear and moist sarcophagus.  And Spring.  Spring is explosive – blustery, redolent – a balmy turbulence of expansion and growth.

Some have suggested that landscapes, climates and geographies form the tangible shape to our thoughts and personalities and beliefs.  It makes many kinds of sense.

When we experience loss we consider to be great, we often find it inexplicable, and it may exhibit many qualities in common with fallow fields of Kansas Winters.  Clinging to cold and dark uncannily, as if depressive states were somehow desirable.  As if persisting in sorrow might validate what grew there before.  What cannot repeat (we think) – bumper crops and windfalls – the decay of which we experience as hopelessness, helplessness,  a ruin.  Plumbing gone bad, a roof worn away, the appliances failed.  Eyesight, blood pressures and flesh.  Things fall apart, the center cannot hold – wisely penned, and yet the Seasons.

When a wheat crop fails to a Summer’s drought and burn – there is thorough discoloration and a withering.  The rusty dun of a malpracticed rain dissolved by menacing sun seems a sign of things gone wrong, things never to be the same.  And it is so.  In some various version of “now” – growth is undone, production waylaid, and a pestilent edition of dying appears to have its way.  We cherish that in our bemoaning.  Misfortunes as notches on a belt that signify toward some later date: “We survived.”  “We survive.”

Certainly not forever, but perhaps another season.  Another cycling of the clock.  We sleep and we wake, and “every day begins the same.”  Every week and month and year.

That apparently demolished – scarred and furrowed stillborn field, however, hasn’t lost capacity, only a season’s fruit, a momentary harvest.

I shackled myself to determined grief.  Treating my earth with lyme.  Still its soil didn’t die.  Flowers and grasses were never erased, only unsung and silent, covered, eventually, by a type of ashen snow – very difficult to see.

The lesson I find ever-so-hard to incorporate is that the responsibility of flourishing or dearth lies not on the soil, the weather, or farmer – wind, sun, rain or seed – not even diligence, care or quality.  Rather, its growth or despoiling depends on the entire orchestra of factors.

What blooms for a term, given other conditions, even ever-so-slightly adjusted, may miserably deteriorate, may “fail to thrive” or “take.”  Human infants, ant colonies, milo crops and butterfly paths, wildlife populations and the microscopic advance of forests all share this cosmic weather – growth and decay depend on convergence.

A determined depression, a strange and celebrated joy – can be deranged by simple sounds or gestures, weathers or tastes.

Helplessness altered towards hope by some unexpected “yes.”

I was contacted to compose a responsive work for a miniscule fee in relation to a visiting artist.  I was given employment, extremely part-time it appeared – as a rural mail carrier ‘associate’ – filling in for regular carriers days off.  And yet they were SOMEthing, a shift in the breeze, a change in barometric pressures, percentages of precipitation, doors opened with smiles.

A bonfire had been planned at a farm to forge acquaintance with the visiting artist – two weeks of work from Brooklyn, NY.  In my selected sorrow I avoided meeting people or mingling in groups, even contacting more than a handful of friends (often reaching out and then canceling in efforts to conserve energy for survival).  Yet work (survival) was serious business and necessitated uncomfortable measure.  I went to the farm and the fire, and from there began a new history.  New season.  Dying seeds split toward open…(to be continued…)

Revisiting “I”-dentity

01-diagram-complexity-of-place-ID1

“I”-dentity: and/or “I” is a product of the Other and the Us

 

I wouldn’t know how to tell you my story, though life knows I try and have tried (as if someone cared).

 

What is it to you?  And “I”?  Is “we”?  When the parts are estranged, differentiated – unknown and uncertain?  If the question of being is YouMe + We?

 

My approach to myself as an Other and Us.

 

Thinking in time with the seasons – their perceptible growth and decay.  Their relations.

 

For all the world in the sheer ice of January the wheat crop is dead… but it rises late in the Spring.

The drizzling, chill fog is burned off by the Summer.

 

I succumb to grief, and then joy, but grief will come again (and then joy…and then grief… and then)…

 

Fall and its gradual dying: discoloration, departure.  What we experience as lengthening quiet.

 

I thought it was over (this “I”), again and again.  But it always turns out it is ready to bloom and express, given certain conditions (the “I” and what blooms, as well as conditions – differing every time).

 

Not quite fallow – apparently.  The seeds and resources are there (that’s the HUMAN) – called out by consortial action.

 

So “I” is the product of the Other and the Us.  Always more than one and all their relations.  Sea, land and sky, our cells and their content-rich contexts.

 

I’ve been abandoned and resumed without loss each mysterious gain.  I’ve betrayed and discovered new friends.  We don’t remember where to categorize pain: is it “bad” is it “good” – but then simply it is just like we and the other and the us.

 

“I” dent.  I am in-formed while in-forming.  When I move, lie or make, I am changed.

 

It’s not fault of an-other, an outside, an “external,” nor “me” in my body, my space and my time, but the “we” is the cause – the “us” in relation: all is com-pound, com-plex, and co-herent (“co-here-in-it”?).  Here together we change and are changed.  And thus love.

 

And our fear.  And we forecast by memory.

 

“I” am not “I” as “I” was.  Nor like the “I” “I” will be.  Which “I” cannot predict for all its co-dependence.  Which we labeled “dis-ease” and no wonder – it makes us uneasy being out of control.

 

Yet we’re only an “I” in a context.  A context of other and us.

 

When the “other”s keep changing (be coyote or mountain, NY or SF, literature, germ, snail or partner) the “I” also shifts and adapts, becomes “else,” becomes novel, strikes a balance with all that is “us.”

 

So give credit where credit is due (or a “cause”): whatever your “I” equals a me + a you – and is describable in manifold ways – as a god or the weather, a child or a feather, and is probably always ALL AND.

 

So no “OR.”  Choice is an additive move.

 

TV news brought us the phrase “and now this.”  Exponentialed via World-Wide-Web, and most probably true (or maybe it’s real).  Connections incalculable, meshwork beyond comprehension, impossible untangling deciphers…now this and now this and now this = “I” (and “you” and “us” and “we” and “world”).

 

Terms are confusing.

 

We Are.  Con-fused beyond knowing.

 

There is no other way (then/than) To Be.

 

“I” as a product of Other and Us.

Siegel - Neurobiology of We