Saturday, August 25, 2012
They have combed their mind for answers- praying, hoping for a final answer to the questions that keep them awake night after night. It has been years now- years, and the nights when they should be sleeping drag out forever as they adjust themselves over and over on their pillows and twist their sheets and get up for another glass of water or a trip to the bathroom. The nights last forever and the mind races, jumping, searching the corners for clues- something, maybe that one thing they forgot to tell the police. One tiny little detail that will solve it all.
Just what happened to them? They disappeared like shadows.
We saw them leave in the middle of the night and then their car turned up a few days later in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Where did they go?
The night is long and tedious as the questions rise up, over and over. There is no resolution. The wonderful resolution that might be- the death to the constant struggle against wonder. If only the night would end and the day would come and with it, god willing, an answer.
We sit now, around a circular table, we draw out what we know, what we don’t. We search and the more we talk, the less the lines connect. A disjointed mandala appears before us on the tiled table and we tend to grasp at the edges, trying to bring it all around.
Just where did they go in the middle of the night?
My heart starts to beat, not pounding really, but with a slightly sick feeling as it interacts with my chest. This body wants answers, how I want to be that lady who sees the rise of the sun at dawn, light bringing with it the death I seek- those eternal questions that the religions of the world attempt to answer.
All the self help gurus and the multi-billion dollar industry cluttered with sticky-sweet titles like “Being Happy in the Digital Age.’ They want it, we want it- an end to the struggle.
And then I look at my detective. A sly smile on his face. How he skips, delights in the unknown. I follow him down the twisting path searching for clues. He walks slow, taking his time, enjoying the night. The day might never come and he would still walk, soaking in the damp air, tasting it on his tongue, listening to the sounds of a sleeping world.
My beautiful detective. He looks into a hole and sees the endless possibilities, seeing not darkness, but a galaxy of stars. Each one shines from another world, another story ringing behind it.
We walk in the night, picking up clues and storing them in our pockets for safekeeping. And we walk, taking the turns in the path with as much delight as the little things we find under the misplaced stones in a driveway covered with tiny pebbles.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
We are dressed in black today, matching the night. Black holding all our purpose. Every color and shape, each breath taken and lost. For all that were and all that could be.
The clouds have parted, granting my midnight wish and I stare at a dozen silver moons, a collection of aged children of rock and light.
There are a trail of silver dollars illuminating the path from bed to window, from window to door. Each step is first memorized and then taken with care.
There were maps and drawings and we practiced one tiny moment among moments. Bursting, we feed it and the circle grows, a wide band of black holding each moment. We take it in, drinking, lapping up the dribbles along the edges.
It is all here, not one thing forgotten. We cannot list them all and yet their names are etched into the wrinkles and lines, the scars over her breasts and the wisps of hair misplaced.
The boat sails and I remember, a thing in motion is excited, confused and ready for toppling. Bubbling up and spinning, the lights direct my attention, moving from human to bird to car to cat.
You cannot stop me as the colors come and STOP! You don’t witness, you mustn’t.
The tale must be fulfilled as written and the pages are there, may I direct your attention to the dried up hands telling our story. Look into the black eyes beside the window, nothing has been forgotten. Transience, mortality, they are for others outside this space. With the candles lighting our chamber, we sit as the circle. Bodies are the wires for light, light is the shape of ecstatic motion. We are still, silent but for occasional gasps.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
When Ethan wasn’t actually drinking coconut water in Mexico or picking olives in Italy or staring out the window of some meandering train, he would be dreaming of other lands. The carpet beside his bed was cluttered with travel narratives and fiction set in other countries- he thought that every place was more exotic than the west coast and he wanted to see it all: the colors of India, the ocean waters in the South Pacific, the cobblestone and dreary clouds of Eastern Europe.
Occasionally he did go to Latin America for a few months or Europe, but it was not the long term travel he had always dreamed of- the multi-year, multi-continental voyage. The trips were short, and kindled his wanderlust rather than satisfying it. He slept with a map on the ceiling above his pillow and, right before falling asleep (and as he woke up), he would stare at the colored mountains and rivers and all the places he hoped to see.
He always thought back to a particular fall day in Italy. The sky outside the train window was bright blue. There was a bite to the air and all the colors of the rural landscape were shades of brown and beige and fallen twigs. Bright orange persimmon fruits hung on the naked branches of massive trees and they punctuated the world outside the window with bursts of color.
He was alone on a train going south- not alone really, but surrounded by strangers. Without the constant jabber of a companion, he focused on the details that surrounded him. The sounds of the train on the tracks, the deep voice of the man selling mozzarella and tomato sandwiches out of a wheeled wooden cart halfway down the train car.
Everything that day was so crystalline and bright. The miles went on and the train doors opened and closed at each station, offering him the brilliant beginning of a multitude of pathways to places he could not imagine.
He knew he could choose any one of them- perhaps getting out at Taormina or any of the little villages along the way to Palermo. Each one was an option, he could simply pick up his 30lb pack and be on his way. No need for permission or second thoughts or even a look backwards. It was movement without obstruction, as he stepped outside, he could breathe new air and discover the tiny details that only needed a second of attention; there, a delicate gray and white feather drifting over centuries-old streets.
By a series of curious incidents and split-second decisions, he arrived in San Francisco. Six years later, he called it home. His roaming feet had sunk in some roots- those roots had coiled around gray embedded stones in the salty soil.
His heart still reached out- enjoying television shows that depicted the people of Romania and Africa, he enjoyed watching characters running from one part of town to another looking for clues to a puzzle, but he could not picture himself in another place anymore. The desire to hit the road with a single backpack and a one way ticket had just melted away so slowly that he didn’t realize it until it was gone, like some of the baby fat that had once held on firmly to his cheeks.
In the past six years he had begun to paint and draw and make music, all things that he had wanted to do before but never could- or never knew how.
Last Saturday he read a piece of text that he wanted to draw for and turn into a short book. Over the course of an afternoon he read the text repeatedly and each time he imagined a different style of art. He could reinforce the poetic imagery by echoing it with visual figurative images, or, he could do something far more abstract- possibly color fields, or, something neo-expressionistic and more aggressive with thick brush strokes and possibly dissonant images.
There were so many possible directions and each one could take the same text and alter it completely. He imagined himself standing at the threshold of a doorway that led to not one path, but dozens, each one of them branching off into scores more.
He sat at his desk, no plane ticket or packed bag by his feet. His pencils and paper rested in front of him, the light outside the window was changing. It was different than he had once imagined, what he had once thought of as possibilities and freedom- what had once seemed capable only through steps and constant travel and movement now unraveled, revealing itself to be many places.
The possibilities were truly limitless, they were accessible without a step. His chest ached with that familiar stinging excitement as the doors opened towards endless pathways.