Trying to find words, I can get lost between languages, between worlds, between lives. There are too many words for somethings and not enough for others.
There are colors. There is the press and the temperature of all types of air. There are the sounds of clouds approaching. There are the shapes of leaves and the shadows they make. All of that adds up to a lot more than nothing.
I could write about love, but you wouldn’t understand. I don’t mean you wouldn’t understand love, I would mean you wouldn’t understand me. You would think I’m in love and you would get lost wondering about the details. Whatever. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something else, entirely. Something like sunlight. Green things make sugar out of it, and they live.
Things You Don’t Know
What do you call the time between the moment a thing becomes true and the moment you realize it’s true? When the thing is already true, but you do not know it, and you go on acting and living as if it weren’t? It can be moments, or it can be years. Then when you come to know/understand the thing, you experience it as new even though it has already been there beside you in silence.
Irony: we can see the smallest ant walking across the table, the smallest leaf falling in complete silence, but we cannot perceive the enormity of love or death approaching until it takes us by surprise. It’s like a storm—a hurricane—forming and closing in, but we cannot see it. It comes closer and closer, changing everything in its path, and we have no idea until the rain begins to fall. No radar. No visible clouds. We may feel the change in air pressure and wonder what is going on, if it is our imagination.
Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes I think about the day before. Or the hour. Or the minute. Before anything. Anything important–whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. The point is, do you remember the day before? When everything was about to be different and you didn’t know? You were so innocent. The day before you got the job offer. The day before you got the diagnosis. The day before you took the pregnancy test. The day before the accident. The day before you won the prize. The hour before you met her/him. The minute before you got the phone call. The second before it happened. It was the end of something and the beginning of something else and you did not know.
I think about this. Is this the last minute of something? It could be. This one right now. The point isn’t whether I will like things more or less after whatever is coming. The point is, is this the last taste of this flavor? It could be. Always, at any given moment.
The Cherry Orchard
Anton Checkov captured it in The Cherry Orchard. Not in words, of course–theatre can do that. Do you know the play? The sound of the string breaking that comes in Act 2 while all the characters sit in a silence that makes audiences squirm? That’s what it is. It’s the sound of nothing ever being the same afterward. A melancholy sound from somewhere far off. A breaking sound.
God, I love Checkhov.
They all sit thoughtfully. It is quiet. Only the mumbling of FIERS is heard. Suddenly a distant sound is heard as if from the sky, the sound of a breaking string, which dies away sadly.
Something happens in the distance. The time it takes for the sound to travel through air divides the thing that has happened from the moment they know it is true.
The Butterfly Effect
Everything is connected.
I just finished reading The Ice Queen, a novel that references the chaos theory, the butterfly effect. A thespian like me cringes at a thing called “the chaos theory,” so scientific-sounding, and unaccessible. But it’s at the interface between science and poetry. Things affect other things. Yes. The butterfly that flaps her wings far away perhaps moves the final milliliter of air that causes the first water droplet to form that becomes the hurricane that destroys the coast. Exactly. Things that are true and we never know. Small things that rule the world. Things that are caused by other things that are caused by butterflies.
The Gesture That Saves My Life
Perhaps when you lift your hand to wave at me, a hurricane begins. Perhaps it will be the gesture that saves my life. You won’t know. Neither will I.