There's a big cemetery near my house, the fanciest in town. Strolling around its West walls, I find beautiful tall trees, the tallest around. Their bark, covered in sweet-smelling moss, reminds me vividly of rainforests and exposed earth after a light rain.
Some smells make me mellow with nostalgia. I see perfect fragments of entire experiences once so strong and now almost forgotten. A soft secret whipped in the air. But it lasts only a second. I turn the corner, and at the old green dumpster, I take a picture of its wonderful rotting paint. I want to listen to the breeze chasing races in the concrete maze of tombs, but there are too many cars on the nearby street to hear clearly.
I walk blank, emptied, like most lived days. As if my eyes could not, would not, focus on anything, and the world was an enormous blob of mundaneness. What a trap. Could there be a bigger display of ignorance? To feel we are so sharp nothing of interest is currently escaping our dull eyes? Yet, I spent most days like that. And even with writing, who am I to speak about a world too old for our new words?
Perhaps I'm wrong on that last one. I think I have discovered, meditating on a piece of wood, that there are no old things. That there is death and darkness and forgottenness is true. But nothing can be old, everything is ever-present. Even our memories are just pulses of life, fresh energy as any can be. Yet, I am not new in the sense of having appeared here unrelated to what was before. Life remembers by being, I am remembrance, my own eyes are livid memory of some great sea creature with mineral eyes.
I'm going North, and there's a sudden gush of cool air. A storm is coming, and I feel electrified by the power it promises. These winds put my attention in presence of something enormous, and I both delight, shiver, and wonder in its belly. What are you, timeless thing? But there's something else here too, something human. There's an empty lot or a crumbling house in every street. I love empty lots, the emptiest the better. Every empty space in the city throbs with the potentiality of what human endeavor could come to pass, or what story has.
A desert stays put for almost eternity, the sea looks and feels timeless. But an empty lot is latent, just waiting for you to look away. Forget about it, come in a few months, and you will find a whole new and stylish snack bar, or at least the season's wildflowers. That's another thing, public gardens and fancy condominiums always have the same flowers, tended regularly by a dutiful gardener. Forgotten city spaces thrive creatively with the flavor of the season. Much more interesting.
I head West now, towards the storm that's forming. The sidewalks are cracked and trickled with slim wildflowers in a lilac bloom. A flock of loud chirping birds takes shelter in a shredded tree. I squint my eyes, look intensely, yet can't see a single one. I cross the street towards the collapsed house with the big cacti. There's a dead pigeon in the pavement. A gash in his lacerated neck running a tiny line of glittering red blood. What's with finding so much novelty and awe in such misery? But I couldn't say, there's no space for discursive ethics, I barely have words now.
Something fantastic is happening. The incantation taking full hold. I walk in a tremble, shaking. I'm swashed in every direction by running wind, but I'm not cold, it's delicious. These winds engorge me, stretch me thin. The trees insufflate me with aromatic air. The days' air was thick and warm, but as it cools, here it is, that unique vividness of free cold weather. And it's tugging me.
I hear the presence of a rhythm, a reverberation, a gasp of joy. Baram-dan-dan, baram-dan-dan. But it is me, I vibrate, I'm a steel drum, it's my boot against the pavement, my heart in my ears, I'm a tune like the songs of birds vanishing in plain sight, songs rumoring unintelligible and timeworn melodies of things mysterious. See, I'm a generator, to the eyes of snakes and owls, I'm a crackling little fire, we're little unseen stars, we emit warm light. We're stars that can look back at you.
Keeping West, suddenly the earth turns wobbly. Everything was flat, and now, near a condominium with fences hidden by a bush in a soft-pink frenzy, there's a very steep hill, and then another, and a dozen more. What happened here? It looks like someone unmade a well tucked bed to lay in. All flat but the hills and valleys at the very end. Were there branching rivers in its feet a hundred years ago? A million?
Is it a blessing or a curse to have been brought to life in this Earth, by this Earth, without having a fleck of a clue about what has transpired beforehand? My thoughts are cut short. I'm near the edges of town and long-lost time, but fatigue is a rustic unbreakable clock, it tells me not the time or the distance, but a simple message: "too many". It is time to go back, it's getting late, the storm won't fall.
With feet on fire, the night approaching lazily under the spell of the summer solstice, I pass unseen mushrooms popping out of hollows and teams of small black birds pecking idly under a small tree. There is so much life here, in the crackled streets, dirtied corners, in the mist of gushes of wind and blooming trees. Every street is a battlefield wasteland and a lush garden of intricacy.
I'll come home and wonder if my living room is any less sad than any dirty street. Hungry but tired, I'll lay down, only to dream troubles; dreams of a tree growing tall towards light, munching on spent lives, living on ever-present remembrance; dreams of a day spent, a man set free.