Friday, March 04, 2011

It seems to me that there should be another, obvious, meaning of the word emergency – less to do with panic and sirens and alarm bells and red lights, and more to do with everything that Spring is; pale but insistent sunlight, a gentle swell of flowers in the park growing ever more present every day, optimistic hemlines, gentle smiles. A state emerging. A state emergent. In an emergent state. A state of emergency.

My mind somersaults over this concept as I survey late afternoon with morning's newborn eye. Well trodden paths are made new again from the seat of a bicycle; the sounds of life, emerging, and the click-click-click of the bicycle chain. I like that sound. It is the sound of things working as they should be; a sound of quiet efficiency, efficacious, the ineffable satisfaction of all according to a precise plan. There is a maths to it; a balanced equation.

We are supposed to take solace from life, in life. In the elegance of this sort of summation; of everything in its right place. To trace beauty, where we can – trees stretching their winter branches unabashedly, fractal like, against the sky; the rain casting concentric circles in ripples across the surface of puddles; the quiet, yearning hum of the mechanics that are our prison and our mother. I remember, back in Germany, playing the Beautiful Things game, transcending my own self by seeing how many beautiful things I could find to think about so deeply that my mind became them. Raindrops waiting like secrets on the leaves of plants in teracotta, or the smell of gardenias hanging heavy, sultry, in the inky blue black of the summer evening. Sometimes I still find myself cycling on the wrong side of the road (the right side, there – right? Or right? I still check my left from right by holding up my hands in the shape of an L. It is not that I need to, merely that it is a reflex born of treading that same path many times; when it comes to this, the mind is no different from any other creature, preferring the familiar route over the scenic. ((The hands are still the same, but different – still pink, they can hold more sweets now, and chopsticks; but they can play less piano, they have made curse-signs, they have rolled joints, and done other unspeakable things that they are refusing, presently, to even describe by shaping letters into words)) This too, is how I remember which side of the road I should be cycling on – I do not remember what the custom is of this, my homeland, England, but rather in an instant cast my mind back to Berheimer Strasse, und Radfahren zu den Aldstadt, die rechte Seite der Straße, vorbei an bunten Obst und Gemüse, die Barbiere voller türkischer Männer, wo einst das Vorderrad fiel mein Fahrrad und ich stand ratlos und verloren, bis eine Runde lächelnder Mann aus dem Nichts erschien mit einen Schraubenschlüssel und fixiert es für mich, das war die rechte Seite der Straße, radelte ich auf dem richtigen, also in England muss der linken Seite stimmt sein. Das stimmt).

There is a quiet order to such things, that can be seen at such times; before the colourful brash gaiety of summer intoxicates the senses and sparks its feverish dancing, spring wears riches of a more delicate nature. Like spun sugar, and tentative kisses, spring grows as I do – unfurling petals gently, and praying for rain. And slowly, slowly, life ends its hiatus; slowly, sweetly, the music starts again; sweetly, serenely, the world begins to dance. And, briefly, the order of things makes a stark and quiet sense. And sometimes, in the late afternoon, for a few moments, the redbrick houses look like they are made from gold

These are the thoughts that fill my head as I fly through the days, these days. Thoughts of now and then and when, and how and why and what all of those questions even mean and how I fit into the answers. These are good thoughts, thoughts of life and what it means to be alive. Of mornings and afternoons and evenings and nights that loop gently round each other in a loose carousel; and will eventually fold neatly, accordion-esque, into that pack of cards we call a week. Something about the air (pleasantly cold, not in the way of showers and shivers, but clean sheets, a newly made bed I can't wait to ruffle up) catches me dead center and makes me wonder how, when things can be so quietly beautiful, can I be afraid?

NB I took these photos at the beginning of 2008, in the first proper room I lived in in Leeds, at around the time of year we are at right now.