Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too Much Manipulation

For years I have carried around in my mental file drawer two images that I want to connect, but every time I try to do that, they resist. One is the sight of a sliver of white quartz dangling from a spider thread in a tiny roadside cave near the Sorgue River in France. Seeing that little chip of stone dangling like bait, I have wondered how long it stayed there, how the spider who dropped that line felt when her projected web was complicated by this foreign object. Such a tiny thing to lodge in my head and never quite get free of. The other persistent and seemingly mundane image is that of a dark-clad figure walking an otherwise deserted city street late at night, so dressed as to hide even a hint of male or female or age (other than a healthy, if casual stride) through a drizzly rain, in no hurry. I was in a hurry to get home from second shift at the hospital where I worked. We were the only two people visible in that neighborhood, I hidden by my car, the other by clothing.

I can't say exactly how many times I've tried to weave these two small, ghostly memories together in order to say something about the threads that bind me to other people and the fear I often feel that we have just too many people in the world. Yet, each life matters, so I surely don't recommend that we willfully discard any individual. The images won't meld; I've overworked them and need to just let them sink to the bottom of that ocean of memories. But . . . but . . . they do surface again and again. Maybe the poem or the story is not about the concept of over-population, but about the persistence of memory, even seemingly unimportant memories that do not carry any obvious emotional baggage. I don't know. But the words that carry those images still show on the pages of my journal. They are safe there, ready to call up I ever figure out just what they mean and why they won't go away.

1 comment:

Lou said...


I love the imagery of the quartz chip, white against the blackness of the cave, hanging in midair on a slender thread of silk. You wonder, I bet, if the spider wanted a 'pretty' to catch the light and spin in the gentle drafts that exist underground.

And the hooded figure walking in the mist. Wonderful. We are animals in this world, and we spend most of our lives alone, experiencing the grandeur and majesty of our surroundings. The spider, perhaps, loves the way the light plays on the jagged shard of rock.

And few things beat a walk in solitude, with the warmth of mist enfolding you like a fresh-from-the-dryer blanket.