Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Deep North

The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Basho

Deep North, very early morning, chez A.

A bird singing outside the window so I thought it was dawn. But it was just one insomniac bird. Like me.
Memories. Floating like ice floes – take up so much space it seems that's all there is -

A loose and shining world with so much space and sunlight, filtering through trees, along river banks....Ingelheim-am- Rhein, Mainz - I don't remember the names clearly, but it was the Rhein, a big river, and the sun shone and I was with R and other people. When I spoke to the man in the deli yesterday, I asked where in Germany he was from and he said Hamburg and I went ah, as if Hamburg – but no, I've never been there, but R, he was from Hamburg and I sometimes wonder where he is now – his tiny room in the Burse, Littenweiler, Freiburg im Breisgau -

April is the cruellest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land....

TS Eliot

The lilac blossom, all the way along the street I walked in the early morning, to go to work at the Wäsherei. The scent of the lilac blossom - and when I think of T S Eliot's quote from The Wasteland I remember 'spilling lilacs' not breeding lilacs – so I remember the lilac scents in early morning, spring, April maybe, edging into May.

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee....
Bin gar keine russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.

And then something like Marie, Marie, hold on tight – and it may be mis-remembered but the feelings, I can still feel them – my memories of that glorious and delicious love – not a love for anyone, that's not what I'm remembering, what it brings to mind is that filling, spilling over feeling, some general and spreading sweetness – memory of a feeling that comes from evoking the words of that poem, that stirs and tugs –

The curtain moves as Emily, the little cat, pads along the windowsill.
Because I hear more distant birds than the one just outside the window, I think it may soon be dawn.
Why this wakefulness?
Where does this tenderness come from? - Marina Tsvetaeyeva.

The tenderness, the lilac blossom scents, the Marie, Marie, hold on tight, all these enter the being, flood it with this delicious sense of entering once more into life.

I was going to say that the memory of such feeling of living so intensely and completely in the present is what presses the experience into the strands of who we are - I mean that the experience itself presses into the fabric, stains it with its completeness, so that it becomes and it remains a part of you. So that its memory – even though all memories change over time – its memory has the power to evoke and repossess you. This is the way that the past /is always present as Mario Relich wrote, in Talking About Gulls.

And I was going to say that the lilac blossom and the sunlight glinting on the huge river, these experiences were of living so entirely in the present moment that I was soaked through with it, through and through, and I felt this flicker of nostalgia for what is not now –

That's when I felt that – we do enter into life again each spring, that it really does happen and I'd been waiting all winter for this feeling. And that's the way it comes – in snatches and in moments, for that's the way that our perception comes, usually, it's in these flicker-moments when our awareness is just caught – by a morning bird, by the deep blueness of yesterday's afternoon clouds – by the vast evening sky, all hanging there, falling away beneath our feet, falling right down onto the hilltops. By the delicate patterns on the river surface, wrinkle-ripples, and the round, gently swirling ones – we link up with these moments and they too, become the real fabric, the real taste of who we are.

These moments – the lilac blossom, sunlight glinting on water-surface, a sky full of bluish clouds – are the real ones of our lives. We return to who we once always knew ourselves to be. We touch our long-lost love. Fingers trailing in the water. Sunlight raking memories, like fingers. This is what it's looking for. The real moments. They remain. The glints of gold, yes – might have been the reason why we came here anyway – while we looked for god or love or a lifetime partner or a place where we belong – it was the lilac blossom and the jasmine scents, the way the sky began to get light and the deep blue clouds, the purple shadows -

No photos of lilac blossom so here's one of jasmine, in Gjirokaster, Albania

and skies near Vauvert, France