Every perception is created. Every memory and sense and mood and mania is created, brought into being by a dynamic of interrelation. The only thing that separates our interior lives from the external world is skin, and skin is an organ, a living membrane, not a wall but a porous, actively engaged medium, saturated with nerves and cells and affiliation.
Thinking is a wave on the surface of a great intuition, observed Kitaro Nishida.
Words are magnets. They draw everything to them. Histories, fables, thoughts, speculations, beliefs. Moonlight illumining a dream of water, jellyfish flowing into themselves, the roar of a chainsaw severing the ears from their slumber, summer awakening the colors of L’Éstaque. The eyes climb into the words of a seminal rumination and so escape the impenetrability of mass. The fork is a dollar of air. The biology of the comma anticipates the hem of a pronoun. A cardboard vagina insinuates feathers. How can impressions that are not needed by the intellect be jettisoned from all relation to the rest of consciousness? Adjectives float in a pool of English, the heat of another moment shines in a shovel full of coal, the consonants whispering mutability is a virtue, pay heed to your pain. The wind demonstrates its meaning in the trees.
Baudelaire sits down to breakfast. Constancy fulfills the morning light. Elegance is a muscle in the sorcery of being.
I venerate the sticks of a calamitous gyration. The angels of contrast ride the dragons of art. I have constructed this emotion with tinfoil and stilts. A contagion of nerves escorts the cauldron of an ancient heat to a bank of sea wrack where the sand defers to the surf.
The constellation of little white dots on my jeans is where the cat’s claws have penetrated. Perception has this ability to circumvent the coffee table and blur distinctions between inside and outside. Experiences create me. I am soaked in ambiguity.
It is true that storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it, observed Hanna Arendt. Instead, it brings about consent and reconciliation with things as they really are.
Things as they really are is this: we all die. No one gets out alive. That much we know for sure. Some age into common maladies, treatable maladies, usually back problems, pain hard to manage, and their twilight years are spent moderating pain and watching TV reruns and visiting grandchildren until a final week in an adjustable hospital bed surrounded by family and hospice workers giving you liquid morphine drops until the lights go out.
There are those who die suddenly of heart attack. Car wreck, bullet, bomb, avalanche, fire, shipwreck, slip on a puddle of grease.
There are those lucky few who age into wrinkles and wisdom and stay busy in the garden or attending the occasional conference and go quietly into the night, slide away into sweet oblivion, fade into non-existence as gently and sweetly as a sugar cube in cup of hot chamomile tea.
Not entirely gone though. No one is entirely gone. Not disappeared totally. Not as long as friends and loved ones survive, not as long as things you once treasured still live, still produce actualities of sensation and movement and shape. Then your life continues, continues outside of your body, like this, like these words, sounds with meaningful shapes, resonances, ramifications.
Snow falls gently through the night. Individuality sparkles like Christmas. Mahogany speaks to the endurance of form. This is why I stopped worrying about my hair. What’s hair? Hair is a group of syllables impersonating a paradox. The restless fathoms demand gold and submersion. Hair does no good there. My eyebrows have become scrapyards. It is in ramification that affinities embark on a voyage of unknown destination. Ramifications that make the jigsaw jig. Ramifications that shine like money in a dish of candy. Ramifications that predispose the symmetries of summer to excess. Once I was fat but now I’m bizarre.
My thoughts are extended by crickets. Detours are marvelous. Detours are where the dead linger and flag us down. Give us directions. Urge us to continue until the horizon bristles with sunset. Even the river hints at something larger than itself.
Ramifications that remedy the relics of a failed rationalization. Ramifications that ransom the random and randomize the rainbow.
I ache to believe such things. And then listen to Bach and discover that money is immaterial. And that I am a spell. And that the orchid has a frivolous solemnity. That the knees are angels and the nose is a star. That I jingle when I walk gaping at the antics of summer.
It is in ramifications, these endless associations that move through the mind like rivers, like those luminous colors we find in clouds during winter, the coldness of the air making colors more vivid, that’s where death meets life, life meets death, in a crepuscular cabbage of folds and convolutions, a gulp, the eyes bursting open, parameters broken down, that we find our souls, our true selves, that thrilling sense of being alive and not just brushing our hair in the morning as usual, but jumping a fence. Redeeming our bones in a life above hills and dirt.