Let’s overlay our separate sights and match our lenses on the common sphere, perhaps the rippled sheets over unmade bed, the children’s toy stranded out at fancied sea, the patterned grain of table top or knuckle tops, glued pieces of porcelain, loyal hands, stronger in their breaking, the current, empty sense of being. And this common place, equidistant, ours and not ours, the overgrown roundabout, unlikely oasis, is where life’s interest plays out unseen, unheard, at once abundant to the mind out-turned.
We’re told that knowing life itself, our greatest aspiration, is somehow the hardest to achieve, for the blessed few, not all, in moments of strained thought or grace-given insight. We wait, living in starts and stops, for these moments to arise, cursing our half-lives until they do. Though would life really make itself so unknowable? Would it put its faith in the unequal perspectives of the tiny minority for itself to be revealed? Would it not scream out its own name from every piece of itself, through the channel of every one of our senses, every moment of every day? You are here, damn it, we made it!!…do you see? Always look for where we are equal, where we are joined…and don’t get lost in the nonsense of exclusive living.
A couple in happy conversation
The light touch he places on her back
Shop signs, car smells
Chatting as they pass the bleakly lit interior
Of a local supermarket
This is where to look
Why write this? Why interrupt you to say this? Is this helping me or helping you? Do I or you even need help? Is there even such a thing as helping? Is there anything at all that passes between us or is triggered by this? Is this adding anything at all?
I don’t even know what I’m writing…this is madness! I have nothing to say and yet I am saying….what, why? I am either irretrievably lost or irretrievably found; it makes no difference.
But as I calm, my breathing slows…the fact of this is very simple, very to the point. Listen; less than five minutes ago, probably less than even three minutes ago I had not the slightest trace of thought of writing this; absolutely nothing of the kind.
I just got up to wash a spoon in the sink and there it was, clear and finished. So I write this to you now, even though it is worthless, less than air.
Crisis over. Gift sent.
May I let you in, for a moment? Though I am alone, though there be an unbreakable seal around my world, an impenetrable proximity, loyalty even, between seer and seen, and though I would never let another come between myself and my experience, break this vacuum, may I let you in, at least to have a look?
And though I am in the dark as to how these words are received by you, if I were to say I had a magical moment this afternoon, if I were to say I was in my kitchen (any kitchen will do)…if I were to say I was in my kitchen at about 6pm in a darkening light, feeling not high, not low, feeling just a kind of getting-on-with-it-ness, can you picture this so far?
And suppose I said I was suddenly struck by the sight of a sandstone-coloured wall bathed in sunlight, can you imagine it?…do you know the kind of stone I mean?…and can you see this wall of mine, this patch of sandy stone aflame with colours it had never been before, impossible intense tones yet possible in direct, setting sunlight, only sustainable for a few moments before fading back to stone, do you see this?
And if I said to you, in this open privacy of ours, that in those few moments in my kitchen all the dreary hours of the day that preceded them were gone, that in those moments there was a feeling…ecstasy, is that the word we use?….a feeling of sublimity, a feeling of not wanting to be anywhere else, would this mean something to you as it does, me?
If I said, even, that I had never known anything more exotic than this sunlight on a rainy day against a stone wall in a back garden….that while I have spent my life trying to understand and own the sight of others, that these moment at least, these few seconds were mine, and they were beautiful….can you relate to this?
And even though those few moments are but a memory now, can you relate to that conflicted sense of being alone and yet together in all this, of wanting to share, of wanting to hear “yes” from another place other than here?
The idea of “fame” keeps coming back to me, mixed somehow with the idea of journey. If I was to say there is a sense of “famousness” about experience, could you guess what I’m trying to convey? I’m using the words in my own way here but there is this feeling that the content of my experience has traversed some immeasurable “distance” from nothing to something, from non-being to being, from shadowy obscurity to intense light.
That tree, this table, those curtains, all of it….haven’t they accomplished the impossible, somehow?….and haven’t they, against all odds, found their way to the light of this moment, to a kind of fame in this realm of knowing? And doesn’t that face, this patch of grass breathe a sigh of relief, now, a sigh of completedness, finally fulfilled?
“How far have you come?” he asked.
“It’s difficult to say, ” the chair replied.