Words Happened Upon at the Bottom of a Well (Canet Plage; 8-14 de septiembre)
(8 de septiembre)
It is already 20 past 6 in the morning, but the sun has not yet begun to light the sky. I find it interesting that this worries me. Am I afraid that the day will not begin in Canet Plage? Why am I afraid of darkness? I think of Toru Okada’s deep dark well (of Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle), the profundity of his “pale dark” and the things it reveals to him, the passages it allows him to make. Darkness is an equally important factor in our cosmic equation. Too much light would blind.
(11 de septiembre)
Walking around the surface of a dried well. Here and there I pass elderly ladies crawling along at slow and steady paces. Floral patterned dresses and walkers. I wonder if I should stop and offer to help them, but then I think maybe that would be offensive (the potential is always there), in addition to the fact that we wouldn’t be able to communicate sufficiently for such an awkward exchange. So instead I pass them, sending them pleasantries (telepathically), hopes for a rapid arrival. I wonder where she is headed, anyway.
When walking around the bottom of a dried well, it is important to pay attention to what surfaces out of the bottom of the mind. Today it is my father, and I think: hi daddy. So my father opens the door at the bottom of my mind, it must be a kind of trap door, only to lead in all those people who make me up. There is a reunion at the bottom of this dried well. And they are all laughing at how strange and silly I am to have organized a get-together down here; “there isn’t even any light and Astrid is pregnant”; “you can’t have a pregnant woman climbing down into a dark pit”; “the air pressure is different down here.. do you think that could harm the baby?”; don’t worry. this well is perfectly safe, insulated by my love for each of you.
(12 de septiembre)
It is 20 minutes past 3 in the morning. I sit wide awake at the little kitchen table. I just had a midnight snack of rice crackers. I finished The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. I suppose I am a little disappointed with the ending, but it can’t be helped, because I think I wanted it never to end. I would like to be part of a story like this, in which impossibilities are in fact possible.
Rain beats hard against the windows and I love its sounds. It makes me feel grateful to be indoors, grateful for this warmly lit little haven that has been housing me, acting as my well. I’ve not been entirely gracious about this town—I think because it reminds me a little of White Rock and I find it entirely ironic in almost every way (the old men I run past on the boardwalk, wearing tracksuits and riding their bicycles in slow motion; the tourist restaurants that line the promenade and advertise pizza as if it were native to Canet; the kitschy mini-golf course as a main attraction; the single internet cafe whose distance from the centre made a pilgrim out of me). But this evening, as a ran along the boardwalk, cutting through the misty humidity, I looked alternatively at the glowing street lamps and the strategically placed palm trees and felt a deep appreciation for the existence of this tiny corner with all its idiosyncrasies. I felt as if it existed, in that moment at least, for me. As if it knew some day I would come here for a week to be utterly alone for the first time in my life, and it prepared itself with everything I might need.
This is my time of doing nothing, and it is a privilege. And, ironically, in this time of doing nothing I have probably moved, and been moved, more than ever before. Isn’t it funny how life flows?
(14 de septiembre)
I was nearly swallowed up by the bottom of the well. One has to be careful of these things.
But I learned things down there, when I wasn’t running away but instead sitting still, letting the flow rush around me, ebbing, flowing, letting the water ripple outward, as if were in a great bath, dipping. Baths normally make me feel a little eerie, it is true, so perhaps the simile is more accurate than I initially perceived. There is nothing to do in the bath; it is so quiet, so contained. Maybe I should try again, maybe I like baths more now. It’s a little like winter in the mountains of the West Coast when you are alone and the silence goes deeper than you can logically comprehend, the snow soundproofs. It used to terrify me, to be so entirely alone in this sublimity we inhabit, to have nothing standing between me and—whatever it is that lies beneath, surrounding, penetrating.
But now I am emerging, and on the train no less! Perpignan-Port Bau; Port Bau-Barcelona. I like the train.
I float on through the South of France, and it is everything you might imagine—grapevines and sunshine on red roofs, rolling hills, long grass. But I’ve no interest in staying here any longer. I love this chance to roll on by, but I have something I would like to get back to, something I might want to commit to, a little seed burning to break through the surface of the soil.
(Just saw a slice of the sea!)
Almost made the earlier connecting train to Barcelona, which would have had me there around 4pm or just after, but I missed it in the end. So a cafe con leche in the funny station cafe (I think everything seems funny to me right now). It’s very calm in here. There aren’t many people on the run today. My running shoes look out of place tied to my backpack. In fact, I probably look out of place all together. Oh well. I am beginning to suspect that this will always be the case, and it’s okay.