I got stung by a wasp. I was out running. It was mid-summer. Warm. A noticeable amount of humidity in the air. A sense of urgency, of crisis. Are there moods that inhabit the air like spirits? The wasp got me on my left thigh. Stung me through my running shorts. “What did you do that for, asshole!” Was he pissed against humanity? Intrusion? Stupidity? Habitat loss?
Life is complicated. Multi-layered. Everyone has this problem. Realities we intuit, realities we suppress. Realities we deny, realities we invent. And then, one day, unexpectedly, we get stung.
The best thing we can do for now is to keep the equipment clean. A few of us still tremble to see the sun rise. Rags are strewn on the ground. A helicopter thrashes its way through the sky. A mimosa reaffirms the quotients of prayer.
Magnetism sprints across my mind. It might be a good idea to oil the door. Is there anything better than floating? I’m lucky to have vertebrae. My wings beat against the ceiling creating a melee of words and fulmination.
There was no damask in the room when I arrived. The sun shined through the fabric of my parachute as I descended on the back of a hippopotamus. Most things finish by becoming absent to themselves. They mutilate logic. They create magicians.
Some of us continue to write, to put our words into forms that self-propagate and so overflow their template that they cease being effective instruments of description and become wasps of a larger reality than we originally suspected. Our correspondence runs to the lake and dives right in. It’s that kind of vibe, that kind of rapport I’m talking about. I’ve often felt that there is an overall connecting tissue. This might suggest a certain tremulous confusion but nothing can be further from the truth. The stickier the ambiguities, the larger the web. There is a world between us. But if you go to the end of the dock and look down, you’ll see what I mean.
You’ll need to focus, to be sure. But you’ll see it. It will be larger than you imagined. And its contours will be rounder, a little more undetermined than anticipated. You’ll wonder why you didn’t see it earlier, and why the inexplicable folds of its beauty continue to elude the most exquisite apprehension of its potential. Instinct with the beauty of uncertain light, the mists of the Adriatic move and mingle among the stone spires of Venice.
Sandra Bullock, meanwhile, goes tumbling through space. Jeff Bridges strums an acoustic guitar in a seedy motel. And in the fog at Angkor Wat a Buddhist monk lifts his arms in prayer.
It helps to be scrupulous, but not so punctilious that the phenomena get lost in the act of reflection. I’m not absolute about anything, nor am I always unequivocal. I can be fussy. It’s just that I’m not that heavily invested in an any ideology. There is always the possibility of almonds and walruses, I have a lot of feelings on this subject, I have a fondness for conjecture, but I won’t go to the dark side of the moon to bring shadows home in a basket when there’s a perfectly good bowling alley next to the pet store.
I’m not really all that platonic, either. I can tie the air into a knot and hand you a strawberry. I can do that. But I can’t prove the existence of cabbage. Nobody can do that, not without a word processor and a good lawyer. This is about metaphysics, though, isn’t it. We’ve given our minds an appetite for wanton leaps and an equal amount of smoke and mirrors in order to achieve what our senses fail to provide. Every philosophy eventually comes to discover its real limits. And that’s when it begins to breathe. When it begins to churn into actuality. The ears begin to see. The eyes begin to hear. The feet feel the ground and the insects go quiet. I’ve never seen such strange fungus, such iridescent moss.
There will be further amusements for our feelings. We know that now. We know it like the crumbling of dirt in our hands. We know it like the haunted look in everyone’s eyes. We know it like bone. We know it like loss.