Elemental


I was feeling restless this evening and decided to go for a walk, turning in the direction of the bridge, as opposed to downtown. My restlessness was born from the weather, tempestuous as it was. I had been in my apartment, and could no longer passively listen to the angry wind sweep through the street and round the corners.

The bridge is a beautiful thing, lined with electric lanterns trying their best to be nostalgic and it's at least half a mile long, gently sloping up to a picturesque view of my sleepy little town. Sailboats pass under on the calmer days; faster, more expensive boats on the days when people might watch and envy.

No boats tonight, though there was a steady stream of glaring, rattling vehicles I could have done without. My swallow-tail graphite grey coat joined hands with the wind and danced a lively counterpoint to its sharp strides. The water below me formed itself into waves for a rare imitation of shore-sounds, an effort lost to the wholly overpowering roar of the air.

The sky was all leaden, enlivened streaks, illumined underneath by the frightful moon, glaring with a divine wrath at being so eclipsed. There was an interplay that brought malevolence to mind, and with that recollection, Villette and my beloved heroine of wild cravings and stormy moods. She too goes out on a night like this, discovering at the house of old Mme Walraves, Malevola, that there is a ghostly nun in her future. The sky was gloom, underwritten and lifted and made real, frenzied, and incredible by the moon. The sort of night that nightmares enjoy and words like heath and gloaming roam with meaning.

I felt a bit transfigured myself, what with the sweeping tumble and dash of my coattails and my streaming hair, climbing a bridge and fighting to keep some uprightness. The words that came to my mind were strong and original with the momentous weight that can never be captured in recollection, no matter how close it follows. I stopped at the lightpost that marks the highpoint and turned back, too overwhelmed by the sheer force of nature. My walk back was obliterating. I was reminded of the myriad of princess stories, in which a young and delicate flower is swept away by an untimely gust. I am composed of graver material and survived my journey, but couldn't avoid the inevitable feeling of smallness.

Now the moon sits above my window, free of those tiresome, obscuring clouds: barren, brazen in her beauty, gazing down with the full white of lunar light. She little realizes how her unwelcome garment of cloud-stuff flattered. She seems too alone now, too distant, too other. The wind is still moving, but it has begun to settle back on its haunches, wheezing like an old beast waiting for a warm fire and a crust of bread. I too am quiet. The work I had planned for this evening went quickly and I can now, in the emptiness of rare leisure, feel the weight of a strange guilt.

Too often forgotten, too quickly dismissed; wasn't it Sylvia Plath who recounted the story of an editor who shared a secret with her? after the great rains, publishers are always (I can't avoid the pun here) inundated/flooded/up to their gills with poems of elemental Nature.

The poor old lady must trick herself out to rouse just a little spirit out of this seething mass of personality.