on ambivalent winter days, just fall up.
5 March 2011 § Leave a comment
The bruise on my thigh, right behind my left pocket, has yet to decide its color. It was a bluish grey yesterday, not unlike the color pf the pen that caused it, and today it seems to be confused somewhere in the range of pale yellow to dogfood brown.
I went cross-country skiing yesterday, for the first time in ten years.
Ten years. I’m that old, that I can start doing things I did when ‘I was a kid’ and more than a decade has gone by. I suppose this has been the case for a while, because I’m conscious of this (and perhaps a little insecure) and keep track of these sort of things in my head. It’s not like I keep a written record of the things I do, outside of this wordpress mess and black notebooks that can travel with me across oceans and continents, yet I manage to lose in the course of a boring day at school. So much lost. It can be someone else’s burden now, wherever it ends up. But let’s get off this subject. It makes my heart ache.
Skiing. Right. I rented an abused ski set up yesterday from the student rental place, which had some special going on in which it was very bloody cheap for anyone who wanted anything for the whole of spring break. So there I was, at the Campbell airstrip in the middle of this massive park, recalling techniques and movements that I learned from my 8th grade history teacher, Sid Mauer, who doubled as ski coach after school. Precision, rhythm, and grace.
I was not.
Sometimes, in those moments of lone confidence, when actions are no longer practiced but done with ease, for the sheer pleasure of it, when, for a few moments, doubt is no longer present in your mind. It’s not a question of whether you can do it well, but when others come around the corner, through the low orange sunlight over the light blue hue of the snow and the branches and trees, protruding from the ground at every angle, the streams sweeping beneath them, sneaking their way to the sea (they haven’t got far now), it’s knowledge dressed up like a lycra-clad antelope, and I can learn their ways, the movement of their feet, the rhythm of the poles, the three-one or the two independent moving parts.
I flew down slick ice hills with the control of a recalled Toyota. Like that night, when a little turn left to stay on the road sent the car into a spin, I tried carving, not knowing how to do it, and a second or two later I ate powder.
I laid there in the dying sun, underneath the Alaska winter sky, that pale and heatless blue, and I smelled the beautiful scent of burning pine. Ghostly and destructive.
Oh, it just happened. One of those times I feel like I never want to write another word. ever again. Where does that come from? Is this what being high is like? Small matters are made into significant issues, massively profound in fact, and later you figure out that it really was all a bunch of bullshit.
I want to write about irony. It’s been on my head lately. And it criss-crosses (do you remember that board game? it was awesome) over lines that shouldn’t always intersect. There are so many levels of it in this right now, I’m swimming in it and laughing until I cry. I can imagine, now, what it was like for villagers back in the day when they committed a crime and had to spend a few days in the stocks, on display for everyone to see and judge for themselves. Why put them in jails, where they will be forgotten about, when they might receive gifts of rotten tomatoes or carrots as retribution of their sins? There is hope for them yet, but not much.
Sometimes I don’t speak in metaphors.
It hangs on the vast white wall, gathering all the attention of the room to a small and square coffin, tragic and elegant, the opposite of subtlety. It is composed of blood and wine and broken hearts, scrolls surely full of hatred, soaking in oil or kerosene. It is a history book and time traveler, a mirror all in one. No, photographs are too impersonal – she was there inside the art, perhaps its eye, to see the look on my face when I first took in this madness. Her free and unstained feathered head looked up and away, like the Hans Solo stasis scene from a Gothic-style Empire Strikes Back.
The title wrapped up in a bow-tie everything we’ve ever been about. Its source and acquisition, inspiration, and somewhere along the way, a touch of misconception in a cereal bowl of same-level dynamics and a little bit of give and take. Sprinkle it with sugar, or the dried crust of red wine when it’s left out in the air for too long.
Irony is everywhere. I’m going to New York City for a Journalism conference. Of all places, of all things. And you, reader, won’t understand that. I know this. Because you never heard my tireless rants on the depravity of objective writing while I carried ‘Anthem’ around in my back pocket, or my conspiratorial musings on Lexus cars in south Florida. And you never heard me say that I wanted to go to New York, because you heard fear in its place, a quivering self-doubt – that I would have met my match, that I wouldn’t be able to make it there, of all places, because life’s just an adventure for me, and only in death will I take it more seriously like those Big People seem to. No, those were the last tirades of a once-passionate teenager intent on having his voice heard, but only here and there, or there and now, or now or never.
Here’s a clue – it’s always been conditional. But those conditions were not like others’. They were selfish and knowing, and demanded knowledge of freedom and equality and other things I thought composed ideals. Certainly not mine, for I could not wrap my head around these things, and could not expect anyone else to either, to care enough to. For themselves. For anyone else. The scooter-to-the-wheelchair incident notwithstanding, I have learned to make mistakes. To allow for them.
And they’re fun.