Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finally my hands are free and I can stand. This in itself is a revelation, the sort of thing that corresponds to doors opening and doves (or at least starlings) flying around outside the windows. When I approach Anda, I don’t know what I am expecting but afterwards I realize it probably looks and sounds a lot like a drum when you hit it with a mallet while placing the palm of your other hand directly on the head and drawing it taut so that you produce a muffled effect. Everyone in the room still recognizes that an instrument of some sort is being played. They re-direct their gazes for a moment, but then focus again on whatever held their attention previously. Part of the problem is our tendency to willfully scar our own pasts after the fact, as if we can’t stand the idea of our pasts existing back there without us, continuing on forever in exactly the same condition we left them in, which isn’t always as pristine as perhaps we might believe. The results are the spiritual and mental equivalent of wrinkles even when there are no wrinkles in our skin. Or very few. Just a handful around the eyes, and they only show up when we smile. Which happens rarely enough indeed under this scenario. I subscribe to the belief -- held now only by those who inhabit the forests at the very edge of civilization and beyond, those who look at us when we approach as if we had materialized directly out of their ancient myths and they must dispatch us, send us back to them post haste before we wind up changing their everyday lives forever -- that our aimless existence is every bit as important and sustaining as is our purposeful one. That when the two of them come into contact, when they do battle, as it were, on the open plain, we ought to just turn our backs and walk away. We ought to find the nearest marketplace and sit down with a good book and a cup of coffee and pretend none of it concerns us in the least. Not the outcome. Not the birds hopping about spastically through the branches of the trees or along the sidewalk where people have inevitably dropped crusts of bread and nickels. Not the people in the chairs close by actively questioning our use of basic level categories like bird and tree and chair when we could just as easily delve deeper into the subordinate categories of the specialist and the expert and find there examples of things that do not hold a universal place, a lowest-common denominator, in the human repertoire. We could make what we have to say or write so much more challenging then, so that those listening to us or reading us might walk away with the sense that they have been interacting with an accomplished individual all along, a human being in the fullest sense of that word, and not simply that which registers what is available to us at its most fundamental level, like a camera or a piece of paper on which a child has yet to sketch her bare outlines, her half-faces and primitive approximations of the things that occupy the room with her, whether visible or otherwise, with a cast-off nub of pencil.        

No comments:

Post a Comment