Tuesday, November 20, 2007

~ the flaneur

What is it that falls from me when I reach this place? What discoloured coating? Day by day, I find less of it mouldering in the grease trap with the bacterial mats and the slippery hair.

What clinging plastic film dissociates in the beach wind to leave me restored?

What clicks in my head when I begin to focus on the distance, rather than the close at hand? On the expanding worlds of sky and sea and scrub covered headland - rather than the muted hopes, the crabbed notes, the tangled priorities, the dusty things screwed into corners and the low-pitched electrical hum in my bones.

At first, the scenery seems flat, two-dimensional, but after a few days I begin to see perspective; details reveal themselves - as if something has physically shifted in my brain in order to gauge these new surroundings.

But what are the secret triggers? The mysterious traps I stumble on as I wander. The sleeping sentinels I trip into awareness. The hidden things that consider me calmly, deliberately, then are driven to act…

What coded transmissions from the translucent blue caterpillar with the crimson notochord, the neat mustard-coloured kidneys, the head that is indistinguishable from a sunflower seed? What cryptic pulsations are steered by the yellow ladybird that lands on the root of my thumb? The ladybird with more spots than the red one I know from home.

What beams are directed by the leaping froglets - which wet grains are dislodged by their tiny pads upon the sand? What meaning in the clattering of pumice stones in the surf? What cipher in the soft tattoo of feelers against the glass of the aquarium?

What is written by the scritching of the curlew’s feet on warm cement at twilight? And what forewarning in its ghoulish cry? What tranquil policies are enacted in the sweet chirping of the geckos in the woodwork? What dreamy conventions are adhered to by the clear gelatinous masses on the tideline, faintly blue, faintly rose or grey?

What, at last, gives me the bewildering power to roam the streets and beaches with no particular goal in mind … pausing to peer in rockpools, to inspect queer beetles, peculiar leaves… to feel no constraints, nor the need to use the time productively … to live for a little while with the simple sufficiency of a sun-warmed plant …

After a long wearying journey, l lay myself down and submit to its authority. Whatever it may be, I debase myself before its rocks and sands.


ps: Kate, thanks for your note. Haven’t really got a way of replying, but how connected we are all…

Stumble Upon Toolbar DiggIt!

1 comment:

lily was here said...

To wander and roam the beach "with no particular goal in mind" .. heaven on a stick. Maybe not to question, but to immerse.