Every day I’m going to try and write a thousand words – just to get myself writing again.
Here are the first ones:
The darkest moments are supposed to be before the dawn.
I’ve never quite worked out how you would tell.
The dawn is a movable feast, depending on the time of year and whether or not you want to be awake for it.
Underneath everything I can remember the faint smell of burning. You get this sometimes when your mind is really low and in a dark place. It’s a symptom of your mental decay, of the rapid spiralling around the plughole of consciousness.
Sometimes it’s the smell of burning worming intimately into your head.
I remember years ago coming home from a course in the countryside. As I approached the City on the train I could smell the burning – maybe this was before coal was banned. I don’t think so though.
Then, of course, there are the times all food tastes of nothing. When things are really bad. When the only thing you can half taste is the rough red wine you prefer hitting the back of your throat. Everything else is ashes and the remembered burning catch of cheap cigarettes.
Sometimes everything is burning.
Sometimes you aren’t fooled by yourself.
The rain patters on the tent. The distant dripping from the trees mixes with the slow, heady sruss of the summer rain. It isn’t cold. When you clamber up and part the zip the fresh earth smells divine.
No more burning. Just quiet. You wish the warm rain would invade your bones and let you sleep a quiet sleep without movement or stretching the time bound. The water reaching deep through the loam and down until it fills the gentle river running by your tent, your senses slowly spreading out becoming a small smear of feeling that slowly turns with the world.
If there were a way back, little piece of sun stuff, if there were a way back, would you take it?
Reconstruct the sharp thing you have become? Your edges jagged and unfeeling, blundering through life, into and out of people. Oblivious to the damage done.
But you aren’t, are you?
That time from so long ago.
When you looked back in anger at a life you could never have. Undeserved. A captain of no ship, a wanderer who can offer no succour to anyone they care about. Those dreams of power, vaunting ambition and beautiful change you could not fulfil.
It takes ego to be those things, and ego terrifies, it wants and hurts the people you should love the most.
Sometimes you aren’t fooled by yourself, much.
You come to tell your story of yourself. Unlike most, you are no hero. Most struggle and believe themselves blessed by some god or gods. Whatever they have to do justified by some chain of circumstance too obscure to control the vision.
But we know different. We know we are limited by the reach of our fingers. A gun now, is pointing with a purpose, an arrow seems even more so. These things, weapons, tools increase reach. Make it deeper and more subtle.
But the real knife is your mind. Without it being able to make that subtle cut between self and other the rest would never follow. Like so many you would eventually die staring at your hands, unable to make anything. Without the divide there’s nothing to love or be loved by.
Without the divide there is nothing to see – even mirrors need the divide. For without it, where is the mirror to be? Could you survive without the endless self regard? When you strike out whom do you strike?
Always yourself. Always. That source of torment. Knowing you were once or will be the person you hurt. not just walking in their shoes, but being the source of the shoes’ leather. Once upon a time. Everyone’s mother, father.
The great divide. A hole in the flow, all of creation a vast river drowning and moving all. Time passes because things move about and something can be constructed by a process in your head that makes things seem to happen in some kind of order.
Once this thing was not, and now it is.
Sometimes you aren’t fooled by anything.
And the reach of the suffering, the whole world, all of it.
There’s nowhere to go.
You’re already here.
Here is everywhere. Remember the joker explaining that most of everything is empty space, but those electrons move so fast it has the appearance of solid? If you could slow things down enough it would all be empty. Empty and so still. In fact, outside of the gravity well made of fast moving stuff, it’s empty anyway.
People who haven’t seen it don’t understand the pain. Short vicarious stumbling from one moment to another. Building dreams, stories and things that happened almost as if they mattered, or are somehow real.
Underneath it’s all connected, it all flows from the big bang. Break it down into an unfolding series of chimera, the matryoshka dolls of knowing and not knowing.
These forces, these things, they explain that thing that happened.
But then look away. Look at different forces.
Was it the shaping of evolution?
Or the shaping of physics?
Or just simple chemistry?
You step off the plane in a country unfamiliar – now what?
It is all these things and none of them.
The river flows – but what is it made of?
More analysis, more slips through your fingers.
More accepting, more is not understood.
The mind is the sharpest knife. But also very lazy. Thinking is work, so fast crash into simple categories reduces the work to something that can be done.
You understand, the categories, the cuts, the divisions, the dividing.
You understand – they could be different and still explain everything perfectly well.
Within the limits of your mind.
You can dream of the whole thing – even glimpse it sometimes.
But you can never hold it in your hand.