Filaments



[Odilon Redon - The Chimera - via MOMA]



I've been feeling very quiet lately -- maybe a bit stupefied by heat at first, now by fatigue.

Today marked the beginning of a new schedule -- up before the sun three times a week to coach my swimmers plus the normal 8-5 work day I've been trodding through. It makes for a hazy sort of mind.

I fall asleep each night to the sound of frogs -- a constellation of frog-voices -- tree frogs, spring peepers, and the few low notes from the scattered bullfrogs.

I wake up to the sound of birds -- they own the morning.

I've continued to take my notes on The Waves -- turning one entire notebook into my notebook on The Waves. It seems to have filtered into my moving, thinking, speaking mind. I mentioned to one friend that reading this book felt too comfortable, too familiar -- that I wasn't very surprised by it. Meaning that I sort of expected everything all along.

Today I copied out some of Bernard's passages at the end about fighting, about losing the self and what the world is like without a self -- the world during the eclipse, colorless, masses of dangerous unknown, drab and disconcertingly other. I assimilated his idea of fighting and challenging very quickly -- I found myself using it in strange contexts just the day after reading -- I wonder if I had done this before -- if I had characterized the impetus of life as sequential challenges? I think I did -- I think I still do, though I tend to roll back if the challenge is too great -- I mean that I'm not ostentatious about the fight. I want it always to look effortless.

I quite like Bernard at the end -- Bernard seems balanced and still reflective -- he seems tempered, maybe even tethered. He has seen a lot, noted even more, and at the end he knows what it's all for. In the end he's still telling a story out of what he has noticed. Bernard sees that he can continue to notice, that he must continue to notice and to name and to write in his alphabetized notebooks -- we require this.

Last week I watched a TED talk about belief and ritual -- Wade Davis spoke about his times with the Elder Brothers, a South American tribe that believes that their prayers hold the world together -- keep the order. They believe that the rest of us are lost and they mourn for us but they persevere -- they maintain things as we know them.

I thought about this with regard to storytelling -- I thought about how necessary it is to us -- even in our doubts (and don't we love to doubt? to dissect? to judge and to pull apart?) -- we need this ordering, this structuring, we need narrative.

But again, we need the darknesses, the confusion and the unknown. We need watery looking-glass worlds and twisting labyrinths and doppelgängers. We need them to know ourselves and to know our experiences. We need them to fight against -- we need them to stand as the core around which we spin our fine filaments of life. For what lies behind a story if not a space -- a nothing -- a darkness. Cores of darkness surrounded by bright spun filaments. It's what we have to do.