30 September 2010

word strings

I find myself in a funny place. I could go anywhere.  I could be anything.  I could go back to school to specialize in Pleistocene megafauna or to learn how to design websites selling at thousand dollars a pop. 

But the part of me that values simplicity knows, deep down, that those choices won't change anything.  The dreams that tug at my soul aren't intricate or complicated.  At the end of the day, I am happy if I've sung a song, read a poem, written a letter, let myself be transformed by a string of words or the landscape of a melody.

In a world in which you can choose from scores of ways to communicate and interact, I still feel impelled to choose my methods carefully.   Perhaps it's because I ride the terminal cusp of a generation that was born listening to Fisher Price LPs, learned its first songs from cassette tapes, amassed a CD collection in high school, and now tosses around mp3s like penny-candy.  (The MiniDisc, I should add, deserves an honorable mention between the CDs and mp3s.)   We witnessed the blossoming of the internet, the rampant spread of cell phones, and the introduction of a hundred all-in-one camera/phone/computer PDAs that can't stand to remain pocketed for too long.

I believe that what we invest of ourselves in the medium of communication comes across in the message.  A phone call, a letter, a song, a tweet.  I don't think it obtuse to consider some media more substantial than others.  Yesterday, I called a person in a remote town on the north coast of Australia.  I also opened a handwritten letter from a friend in Tennessee.  It will be a long time before I forget either one.

A couple weeks ago, I finally extracted myself from facebook. There's something to be said for simplicity, for time spent communicating directly, meaningfully, deliberately.  I'm not trying to lead a stomping Luddite brigade through the backyard of social media.  But I am pulling the plug on a desultory way of communication I found myself nodding to more and more often.  And I am making simple decisions now that will affect the way I interact with the world in the future.  I want my norm to be different.  Give me a letter over an email any day.  A song over a tv show.  A voice rather than a silent screen.  Here's one less soul plugged into that space and one more for the type of world I want to belong to.  

Photo from a dry lake bed near Burketown Australia, October 2009

17 September 2010

and seek

We go to seek new songs.  Landscape. Silence.

To follow our rabbits, hope the hole never ends, just gets too dark too know.

We go to seek new origins.

Think of me as a sound, as a peculiar type of wind, as a shade of darkness in the unknown contours of a cave. The path of a water droplet. The after-twang of a banjo.

Nothing stays the same for long.

A leaf-beetle's dance,

the ache to become a song.

12 September 2010

nacreous clouds

January 11, 2010
Institutet för rymdfysik
Kiruna, Sweden

05 September 2010

sometimes it all comes

Sometimes it all comes pounding back to me
like a flash flood writhing and twisting through
an empty river bed, swallowing every remnant of dust
and turning the world into a velvety slur of carmine
and deer leather brown, as if to convince the desert
that water exists. And water can still win.

Sometimes it begins as a far-off drone, like locusts,
and slowly approaches in a gradual growing
buzz that makes your fingers tingle and interrupts
everyone's front porch conversation, ties our tongues
and halts the rockers on their planed oak beds.
We look up, but we don't have to.

And sometimes it just falls, like suddenly a child
too weary to stand up slumps over at the neck
and surrenders to the lull of that recalcitrant cloud,
sleep, lucky that mother stands by to take over
life's secondary details, like transportation and warmth.
Sometimes, it just falls.

02 September 2010

"We think by feeling. What is there to know?"

We start out doing it for our self.  Humming. Not because the trees are listening, the walls have ears, but because we do.  We are. We go.  We make.

And after a while, we learn different melodies, we might learn how to whistle, to trill the ends a little, to respond, add, incorporate, grow. 

And after a while, when we can't remember how or why it all began (because why does it matter?  who needs to know those things?  you hum because you hum)  inevitably, someone hears you. And they stop, they listen, and maybe they say something, maybe they say nothing.  But now it is no longer your humming.  It has crawled into the ear of someone else.

And, after a while, perhaps a handful of people - through whatever medium, in passing or intentionally - have heard your song.  And some of them (bless them) have told you.  It is beautiful.  Thank you. For being. And this is the highest compliment you could ever receive.  You hum because you do, because you are; humming is as inseparable from your self as a scent from its flower.  And someone said thanks.

Learn where the title came from here.

The photo was taken last year in Burketown, Australia by Russell White and can be found in this gallery on his website.
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