For three days the forecasts had promised the crystal Autumn light that kissed the leaves, slowly beautifully, to death, would be the last. The rain would swallow the remaining moments in this land, and, forsaking Fall, the race to tell a certain story would resume elsewhere, where the sun knew nothing of months or seasons.
On the first day, jogging away from town and up an unknown road, it lingered above the newly snow-covered peaks behind the cabin, layering the details of the valley in the extended twilight particular to Autumn, for an inordinate space of time, it seemed, as if saying goodbye.
Caught in moments that could not be kept, much less told, the mind still reached out, attempting to gather everything around itself that preceded a leap toward history that a gap in eloquence threatened to land in nowhere. The tone of the endless quest of words, in an age of gist and summary, foreshadowing what could only be grasped out of the towering whole.
On the second day, walking through a smaller town, looking for the museum where the feeling of this land was recorded over years, over innumerable strokes, in paint, the inner voice, spinning the threads of experience into the small stories that frame a much bigger one fell quiet, like the town itself where peace wasn’t something in which the people were restless. The deeper peace–the size of the amount of thought that was unneeded here–holding the little everyday moments in itself and making them enough.
Sitting on a bench at an empty park, the breeze inside that keeps the traveler moving was drowned in the one that only rustled the goldening leaves, and left all stories standing.
Silence and motion. Silence and motion.
The momentum of our civilization is visible when you try to sit still, when there is no pain in the body, no hunger in the stomach, no predators chasing, and still something inside pushes us away.
For every step we take to the next distraction, the next destination, the next thought of how to make ourselves valuable, the future keeps extending endlessly ahead of us, unreachable.
The momentum of profit, written into the gears of our psyche, spinning out of proportion to what is needed to be still? We never stop, so we never see whether the winds of industry, that write the current story, will let us.
The Veils of Reality opens within an even more narrow window. While we have the luxury to reflect but before we see a reason to. Between this generation and the one in which it will be too late. A sense of urgency that undermines the conditions of its emergence.
If you passed through in two days like what people say is enough, on the third day you wouldn’t have seen the sun open over the long valley again, and the rain falling through it, pulses of light swallowed by the road and coating the leaves,
forcing off bikes to stop, making, for a moment, where you are and where you’re going the same.
(the bus stop between the cabin and town)
Back in the cabin, there had been a name spotted in the bookcase that made the sun on the green lowlands beneath black and white mountains, each light-filled droplet of water, overflowing from heaven, all these quiet and urgent days, the last ones. Opening and reading what in many ways was a mirror, of what this exercise in burning off the surface layer of words had turned into, the breeze that keeps the tourist moving picked up to a gale pointing over the sea to a place with a different kind of silence.
From the dance of extremes that it expresses, the mysterious silence here, perhaps shocked into the people by the war, came to seem thin, a small moment threatened to be swallowed by much bigger ones.
But that was only how it seemed. It wasn’t for any disparity of truth, and just a particular texture of it, that the scene of this story changes.
The book pointed elsewhere, at uncertainty, at discomfort, at the harshness that makes goodness beautiful.
We are all racing, some with the current, some against it. Our stories of who, of where, of what it meant are the rudders that turn us in the river of history, the directions we end up facing, how prepared, how surprised, how connected we will be.
But somewhere, at the end of the story this is trying to be, and underneath any, what looked like your sky, what looked like my sky, just keeps on going.
The clouds come and go and burn away, and we try to stand on them still. Living on the world as its written.
Silence and motion.
Between stillness and action, between intensity and sedation, we cross in front of something which is never possessed, like a picture, but between, always between everything and everyone that looks like its on its own.
When we leap we don’t know if we are leaving something better. Reason pushes, but it’s the space between that pulls us, and the science can only be read in the results of how many times we’ve landed.
Sometimes neither the journey, nor the landing, are the point.
In the library the sky turns from blue to white to a grey that falls in pieces of itself, muting the detail the imagination would otherwise devour to feed itself. The season, for the final days before its left behind, like a vast empty room. The flatness cannot cure the words that pour out over a peace they call premature, it only drowns them a little like rocks in the muddy river that flees the cold slowly creeping down the mountains, that will settle like a memory over this land.
Left before the Autumn leaves
what impression might they have made