Earth


[Anna Atkins - Ocean Flowers via Woolgathersome]


A rap on the skull, I think -- is that what it would take? It seems so. I returned today to Bernhard -- The Loser, and also to my excerpts and notes on Beckett.


What was it I wanted to share? On what it is like to collapse --

perhaps the far unchanging noise the earth makes and which other noises cover, but not for long. For they do not account for that noise you hear when you really listen, when all seems hushed. And there was another noise, that of my life become the life of this garden as it rode the earth of deeps and wildernesses. Yes, there were times when I forgot not only who I was, but that I was, forgot to be. Then I was no longer that sealed jar to which I owed my being so well preserved, but a wall gave way and I filled with roots and tame stems for example, stakes long since dead and ready for burning, the recess of night and the imminence of dawn, and then the labour of the planet rolling eager into winter, winter would rid it of these contemptible scars.

And so what do I think of? A veritable flood of thoughts -- I think of spring and the outpouring mostly. When I was reading this morning and I felt my world slide away and this other created world of words that don't quite hang together (it's Bernhard after all) and words and people that are familiar and yet strange and death appears and then disappears and the same for art and all those repetitive phrases guaranteed to give the effect of anaesthesia -- an anodyne for the feverish mind, but one which has but a short-lived effect and will soon wear off and does. For when it wears off I realize what is missing and then I feel the throat-tightening feeling of having just now felt a thirst and lack that had been haunting me for too long.

And then there is Beckett's phrase above -- the self as a sealed jar -- or maybe it is that the sense of existing is a sense of being insulated and isolated -- preserved -- hermetically sealed and kept locked up in a pantry somewhere. And that that jar-feeling can give way to the feeling of a wall knocking down, crumbling into mold and dust and earth and mortar and old roots and new worms and rusting metal and growing seeds and a pile of that which lies forgotten in basements and cellars and pits. But the wall-crumbling also seems to be something else, I don't know what, but perhaps a growth of sorts, tilling or turning.

And Beckett also writes that when you are in the jar you have to ask yourself questions --

as for example whether you still are, and if no when it stopped, and if yes, how long it will still go on, anything at all to keep you from losing the thread of the dream. For my part I willingly asked myself questions, one after the other, just for the sake of looking at them. No, not willingly, wisely, so that I might believe I was still there. I called that thinking. I thought almost without stopping, I did not dare stop. Perhaps that was the cause of my innocence.

I think almost without stopping, I dare not stop. Perhaps this is the cause of my innocence.