I woke up that morning considerably earlier than I would have liked to. Some time in the middle of the night, like maybe three AM, there was a scary sound above my head, above the tent, outside. I realized much later that it must have been a deer snorting, surrounded by nothing more at all. One loud snort, then nothing.
It didn’t exactly wake me up or get me out of the sleeping bag, but it kind of powered my exit when I did wake up in the predawn of that hilly graveyard. There was a rise, behind which I could easily hide from whatever stray traffic might come by. Graveyards were my habitual stops between shower breaks while motorcycling. No-one is likely to bother you there, and there aren’t usually visitors toward the end of any rural day.
This particular morning, packing up my bike, I wanted to hear a weather report just before deciding jeans or leather and how much underneath. The little multi-band was a hand—me-down from my amateur ham radio brother, and it seemed like I ought to want to bring it along for the ride. I somehow prized it, though it was suffering from the vibrations, and I couldn’t get it to power up this morning.
There was a tiny black screw covering the battery compartment, which I removed in full and fated knowledge that I would lose it despite my very best precautionary measures, knowing full well that beneath the bike was no concrete or even gravel, but a full rich bed of overgrown grass.
Spirits never did concern me – I should be so lucky to experience actual hallucinatory manifestations of whatever souls were laid unrestfully here. Mysteries of the airwaves did, somewhat, however. These oscillations omnipresent, tuning in to which had become so essential somehow, even on a bike. This was way before cellphones might raise the paranoia factor by transmissions near the head. I was more worried about the symbolic reaches for wavelengths.
For me in those days, the biggest problem with motorcycling – well, actually, there were two – but the most immediately troubling was the noise of the wind, and the soreness of my butt. These, however, were both easily enough remedied by the simple expedient of travelling more slowly and taking frequent breaks to walk around and chat. The second issue was that while walking around, especially dressed in leather, I tended to make people laugh which discouraged much good conversation. I never did have the cool part down.
The radio this morning wouldn’t power up. And whatever magic demon stalks me made certain that the tiny black screw would get bumped or whisked or otherwise disturbed right out from the little seat pucker where I’d carefully placed it.
I watched it go and marked the spot, which was the final curse. Since every time this happens – the screws are flicked, the sound is marked, and by starkest perseverance, I always or almost always do manage to find the lost part. So I was not about to let it go.
This is because I’ve trained myself so thoroughly against the magic noise cancelling brain oscillations which more typically make lost things utterly disappear only to reappear hours or days or months later right in the place where you first were looking. The training is simple, and based on the hard fast knowledge that the thing is actually there. I’m nothing if not perseverant.
But this day in the grass, despite my best most accurate triangulation, there really was no hope, and it was getting on towards time when folks might be visiting those graves. In actual fact, the radio never did work again – something about motorcycling vibrations didn’t agree with its guts.
This, of course, is what writing does for me too. It puts down a marker among all the twittering oscillations of my perceptual apparatus. They (you know, “they”) tell me that my brain perceives and even acts on several orders of magnitude more stuff than reaches my conscious awareness. They say that what I consider decision –making is only rationalization after the fact; that the path I’ll take can be recorded directly from my brain before I can claim it for my own.
So writing is a marker of some thought got brought up to consciousness. And I know I need far more than 140 characters to do the thing full justice, unless I’m writing poetry, in which case all the echoes of all the other possible words have to be there fully too, floating around in potential consciousness or memory or the triangulated possibilities of what might be about to be said.
The writing puts a marker down, which builds and grows and changes. Just like that Bird Flow which is a flock of individuals, perhaps each aware of the same outside stimulus, perhaps only of each other, but which from outside the flock can look so much like quicksilver thinking as it mindfully traverses the sky. So different from clouds. So mindless still. So leaderless.
There must be a kind of love so strong that it can bring back ghosts. There must be a kind of concentration which can bring some near fleshy soul right out from its grave and hallucinate so strongly that it will seem just right out there rather than in the mind.
Things are more real which are outside oneself after all. And outering words will give them too a life of their own. But if you just tweet them, calling some fellow of the species, then how can you own them and give them soul? How can you shape them and mark each stoppage of your own mind’s flitting awareness without you? How can you ever put some you into words which are now owned by whoever might respond?
And so there is but one response to the fear that there will be none. Control replaces love, and for your own good replaces what you would do without me. This too all might be love. It is surely love of a manly sort, a flock with leader becomes an army, purposeful and direct. A man’s intentions are sealed with a pledge and must go on forever if honor is to be kept.
But women have no need for pledges, when children are concerned. The heartstrings are as real as actual cords and as righteous about some future.
I guess the rod is being dropped in favor of better support. I guess pledges of honor too are more likely to get broken without loss of all the honor which defined them. I guess the woman is more ascendant, chevrons turned to flood.
I guess also that the ghosts have disappeared. That they have been replaced by words and memories and flesh and blood.
These airwaves, though, are dangerous, allowing only one way messages at first. And now with twittering on the internet, personality precedes thought rather than to follow it. It might just be that two way communication is less than one, if words are reduced to twitters. It may be that there never will again be any flow to words from just one person.
But I think that fear is never love. Fear that no response will be forthcoming. Fear that at ones center there might be nothing worth loving. Fear that without some hook, the heart might flee. Fear that the flow of birds will leave one without a flock. Fear that God is absent.
I laugh in your general direction. My reality, however, is here. These words are mine, whose shape is owned inside me. I outer them for you. I like the calculus of that.