Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thoughts In The Labyrinth

They sit in a circle in a dimly lit room.  Candles flicker on the fireplace mantle and cast shadows from the wiry kiwi branches onto the ceiling.  The black curtains are drawn and they are all alone- three bodies who try for a moment to leave the labyrinth and cortex behind, to emerge new from the trappings of intelligence and talk without walls. 
She looks at the man in front of her.  In most societies he would be considered an adult, a man with graying hair, more than forty years of age.  He sits in front of her illuminated in the golden light, imitating her sounds and creating syllables without meaning.

“dooooahhh” she says.
“dooahhhhhhhhh” he repeats one octave below.
“ti ti ta ma to sooooo.”
“ta toooo ta ma to sooooo.”

They all smile.  Someone shifts slightly on the futon.  A part of her ego breaks off and wanders down the labyrinth alone.
She wonders just where she is and who she’s with.  Who is the man in front of her?  The man making sounds? 
The strangeness of the moment hits her, rustles up against old thought patterns and rubs at convention.  Do adults do this?  Do they sit in a circle, letting the stars and night turn to day? Do they make sounds and sing together, pushing their bodies beyond normal comfort to remain seated in a circle?  Do they breathe loudly, moving their hands wildly as though there were music, though none is playing?

“MUUahhhhh, sahhhh, tiiiii.”
“MUUahhhhh, sahhhh, tiiiiiaaaaaa.”

Her ego searches through the known, all those layers sitting, accumulating since birth, waiting for a moment in the light.  “Known” meaning words, thoughts, convention. 
She looks again at the man, long wisps of white hair shine in the candlelight. 
This is not what adults do, though they could all be considered adults with driver’s licenses, bills, kids, cars, jobs- and yet they are not.

In another space she watches two young boys, both just a few feet off the ground.  She is supposed to be the adult there.  She feeds them noodles and bananas and makes sure they are warm and dry.  She comforts them after a fall and tucks them into bed with a lullaby.
And yet, she does not only do what the other adults do. Before bed she sits them next to her by the computer, she practices her singing while they watch and sometimes follow along, clapping as they sing along.  She imitates them in the hallway with her body, stomping her foot when they do, she jumps when they do, yells into the air when they do- they notice what she does and laugh- delighting in the exchange.
But that is not what adults do.  Not the adults they know.  She is their Other. She is like the graying man, a living signifier for another path. 

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