Saturday, June 18, 2005

How far?

Letters I wish I could write:

To someone far away --
Remember last year at this same time when you shared a song with me? When you, in your life out there somewhere had been listening to How Far and decided that I may enjoy it and I did, only I am such a music baby that anytime I hear a plaintive voice, I get too choked up?

And to another --
Remember when last year we listened to Pokarekare Ana on a blanket outside? And how you did not know then that you’d be hearing it in New Zealand a year later? And that I’d be composing imaginary letters on Ocean? Because one just cannot know these things and I am basically your terrible predictor anyway. So much so that I am prone to asking others about what they think next year or the year after will look like, because I typically have no idea and in my Polish angst about each day, I always assume that by tomorrow life will topple and I will find myself wasting away in some state of discombobulation in a Benedictine abbey in southern Italy, or, horrors of horrors, digging ditches in a Russian kolkhoz with a burly фермер standing over me telling me to dig harder.

How far, how far do we go each day, how far did you travel? Did I?

Today I took the bike out and, in a straight line, headed west. Everyone talks of doing that. Driving, running, without stopping, until you run out of steam, breath, or gas. Well what if you biked? How far can you go before you encounter the first corn field? Farmland that rolls onto itself with no end in sight? A red stable with horses? The end of the road?

The thing is, however far you take yourself, you always have to figure out a way to get back. Leave yourself enough gas, or, with a bike – enough energy to peddle those hills again and head home.
The first cornfield these days is many miles out... twenty-six years ago, when we first moved to Madison, our apartment looked out onto a cornfield -- an interesting experience after south Chicago. Posted by Hello
right away you notice the quiet... Posted by Hello
oh, a visitor, all the way out here! let me trot over and check her out. Posted by Hello
Ocean author reaches out to horse. Hey horse, did anyone ever tell you that you sort of look like a donkey? Posted by Hello
the end of the road. Posted by Hello

Holding a hand

I was in Paris a year ago, waiting to cross the street and I looked up to see this small scene. My camera was out and so before the light changed, I took the picture. Today I remembered it. Oh, that look on the man’s face! The girl seemed a little sad as well. But he – he had all those additional years of haunted worry. The look comes through just a little on the photo here:
if only... Posted by Hello
This morning, I was imagining the course of a simple conversation between a mother and a child, one that all parents have at somepoints, many points, in one form or another, and as I was thinking of it, I remembered another photo – one that I took last month on a Warsaw playground. Here are both, the imagined conversation and the photo:

Mommy, what’s a cloud?
It’s a bunch of tiny droplets of water and ice, suspended in the air…

Oh. Why is it covering the sun?
It has to do with the wind and the movement of air. Imagine it being pushed and pushed until it can’t help but cover the sun.

Can you unpush it? Can you make it go away?
No, I cannot.

How about my sore knee from when I fell down because someone pushed me on the playground, can you make it go away?
No, I cannot.

Mean people, mashed turnips..
I can probably do something about the turnips…

But mean people, bullies that push you?
No, I cannot. Listen, I can’t even make the weeds go away in my front garden. Look at it: It is a jungle. Out of control! It would take ten strong people with fifty long hours and shovels and shears and who knows what else to make this yard look pretty again.

I don’t care about the yard. I want you to make the tiny droplets of water and ice go away.
I cannot do that.
On a Warsaw playground: tangled up in ropes Posted by Hello