Posts Tagged ‘nature’

The Fall Never Ends

In the place I want to find, the fall never ends. A paper airplane, once it reaches the top of its arc, descends forever. A drink, once spilled, spills toward the ground forever. The leaves, when they drop, float slower and slower until they seem still. Every time there is a kiss, a green leaf turns yellow, a yellow leaf turns orange or red, and a new bud opens.

Once they have been falling for years, slower and slower, even the leaves and feathers, even the scraps of wrapping paper light enough for the breeze to have lifted, rest firmly enough to stand on. Rising from the middle of our sacred field, an android has gathered and arranged them into staircases, a maze wild as a briar patch, as colourful as November. At rest, he leans on his broom and his shovel.

You are a couple steps ahead of me, singing. Somehow you always are. By some trick of the dome of the sky, I can hear your voice behind me.

I have looked for the end of the world. I was cautioned against this. Many others, having seen it proven mathematically that we are all enclosed in glass, have looked for the boundary and failed. Some say that the android has touched it. Even if that is true, it is of no help now, slumped, as if in sleep, until there is enough material in the sky again to warrant sweeping it into a new staircase.

At a sharp fork in the staircases, you come almost completely around and begin a descent. These are the only times you face me. I want to ask you something, but you touch a finger to my lips, and now I am not sure what my question was, or even if I really had one. I wonder if your eyes always look like this, I rarely see them.

There are people, also, trapped in their falls. It is said this is the only way to become immortal. The fall never ends. You are right to avoid questions. There are no questions that ask, only songs.

Like Turritopsis Nutricula

I came to the aquarium as I always do, when it is quiet. The crowds come for feeding time. They are chasing the agitation, the water filled with bubbles, the frenzy of desire. I come for something else, to watch the creatures swim slow loops or float, hide in their pretend reefs and wait. That is how we really live, isn’t it? Always returning to the places we just left, always waiting for something else to happen.

That day, you were standing with me in the tunnel, rigid and transfixed. The ocean under glass, you told me. A minute later you asked, did I want to see an immortal?

You led me by the hand into the research section, a place that reminded me of university—data posters on the walls, desks with computers and stray bits of equipment. Then into your office, full of the fossils of sea vertibrates hundreds of millions of years old. Some of the species you showed me live now. Some of them are extinct, including your favourties. I don’t remember all their names. I remember the jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula, tiny and nacreous, never dying, but as you explained, a reincarnation that comes at the cost of its memories.

We could play a game like that, take a drug that prevented the formation of memory, meet each other again and again for the first time. Unlike these jellyfish, we could take notes for our future selves. But I know those movies have been written, and I know all of humanity has come before and left us their notes, history and literature. You added, all of natural history has come before and left us its notes, and you put a fossil back onto your desk.

I remember the poster you backed up against, algae populations against ocean depth, as you drew me to you. Not the lips, you said, opening the neck of your blouse and bringing my head there.

Who would not want a return to childhood, to live again and again, endlessly grow old and revert to innocence? But even the immortal medusae are vulnerable, you said later; even the most wonderful of creatures are sometimes lost.

You must know that I still visit the tunnel under the aquarium.

Forget the Facts We Know

For just this night, I want us to forget the facts we know. I want the night to widen, leave sleeping those who sleep, but stretch out an extra hour on our clock, from twelve to thirteen, the space for living dreams, for accelerated experiencing, for that phenomenon of the brain that sometimes seems to make the moment still. I want the wind to blow from directions our compass and our plumb line cannot find, for us to chase the scents it carries to a story made in parallel.

This night, they say, used to connect the timelines of every soul. Who knows the effect such believing once had; it has not endured. Halloween was delivered to us extinguished, a relic in a box of ashes. We burned the witches to fill it.

So we close our eyes and open them again. This is not necessary, but it seems intuitive. And now there is smoke on the wind. It may be chimneys, it may be sacrificial pyres, it may be the forest burning. There is a pile of leaves, a smell called fresh but that comes from their decay. I toss an armful over your head and they sing like chimes as they descend. There is the smell of mercury, of amnesia. The wind has shifted over a forgetful lake—it has brought the mist to our nostrils. This carries away many details from our memories, but we are promised that they will be returned. I do not know whether to trust the promises of the spirits. In the meantime, I am happy to forget the ones I can.

There are the signs we must draw meaning from, and the signs we must ignore. Who can say which are which? There is a rainbow around the moon, the part we can see, and the part we can merely feel. There are the songs that summon ghosts, and the songs that send them away. You can play the flute here, as if you always could. It is made of bone. Its music alters the perfume of your sweat. I catch a bottom tone of death, just enough to intrigue but not disgust, and a top of apricots and sage. It does not matter what happens in an hour that does not exist, and it matters more than anything what happens in an hour that does not exist.

Here, if we take laurel or peyote, and swap coins or tokens, we can share the hallucination. Here, we can gaze back at the world. Here, a kiss is a ceremony the spirits invented in order to feel mortal.

And if the night is over and the rest of my memory has not come back, that hour is all I’ll need to keep.