4/16/2020: Consideration of a Scene

Another day. Spent it as usual parsing the individual hourly anxieties with agonizing, involuntary, autoinflicted patience, drawing everything out to its utmost; the most demoniac kind of boredom.

But related to yesterday’s thoughts: I wonder if when we’re born, each of us is seeded with a bundle of call them primordial fantasies, scenes of beauty or longing or transcendence that speak directly to us in a language only we can understand, woven into our soul’s code, awaiting their triggers to come flaring up like new suns in front of our inner eyes. There are these scenes that I have within in me, to which I’ve never seen a real life corollary, but that I find fragments, flavors, vestiges of in literature, music, paintings, as if the creators purloined little broken-off chips of their essence and alloyed them into their own material.

I call them “scenes,” but I mean that only as a broad term encompassing a variety of things, at a variety of scales. Some of these scenes are barely articulated or visible even within me, but others do deserve the name “scene,” because they exist as complete frameable or filmable settings.

One of those scenes: a big clearing, surrounded on all sides by a pine tree forest (but without that piney resinous smell of pine forests – is it a pine forest? It keeps fluctuating in my head as I think about it…). It’s probably several football fields long, and two fields’ length wide. From one end to the other the clearing is carpeted in a uniform, soft, lush, vibrant grass, a high-summer grass, a Ghibli movie grass, that slopes up to a mild rise before plateauing and then dipping slightly again after. Overhead, the sky is blue, brilliant, the air aqueous and pure, with a perfectly calibrated breeze moving through it like notes along a stave; and the unencumbered sun gilds everything it touches, sits overhead like a patient miniaturist and paints every single blade of grass with filigree; and the temperature is…comfortable.

On the top of the rise there’s a big fountain, embellished around with decorative shrubbery, a mix of deep glossy green bushes and others, lighter-leaved and with flowers. The fountain is made from unblemished white stone or plaster in a classical style, and the water it pours out is so pure and clean it’s as if it were distilled from the sky.

Behind the fountain is a giant building or manor of some sort, made of red brick in something approaching the French Neoclassical style: its facade is open and flat-face with a wide porch and a fanning staircase This building is always behind the fountain, but sometimes the fountain is further away from it, or maybe there are two fountains; it’s hard to say. Sometimes on the field there are lots of other people, moving about single or in small groups: just walking pleasantly, or sitting on the grass, or even playing with a frisbee, sometimes, I think I’ve seen, even though a frisbee seems to mundane and of this reality to exist there.

I’ve never been inside this building – not in a dream or anything, I mean. Because I do dream about this place, occasionally; and there, like everywhere else I encounter it, it emits its eternal, predestinated sensation, as if it existed before I was born and was in my mind before I had the capacity to dream at all. I can imagine what it would be like inside, and have, but these imaginings never feel authentic.

And if I see some particular building’s facade in the real world, in just the right light, or if the trees in the distance are moving and lit just so, or if the day is nearing close enough to perfection, then I see this place and certain alien or archangelic feelings come into me like an afflatus, a lambent wind of power in striving, a connectedness to…what? I don’t know. Maybe just some innermost dynamo within myself.

The History of Thought is a morass of millions of contradicting certainties. Writers, painters, thinkers, spiritualists, gurus, shamans, musicians, warrior-monks, mystics, snake oil salesmen, quacks, prophets, precious teens eyeing each other across a coffee shop’s lacquered table; and more; all put build up their philosophies, delineate their schemata for the mind, draft up blueprints for the world; and they always seem so sure of themselves; were they really? What does certainty on that level feel like? I can’t pretend to certitude in hardly anything. I feel like I was born without a memory, or that I chose to allocate my capacity in other areas, so that I’m constantly forgetting my own life while I ponder arcane images lodged in my consciousness.

That comes close to sounding like self-pity, but I don’t mean it to.

I’ve got this fixation on War and Peace all of a sudden; my brain has latched onto it, I’m not entirely sure why; before now I’ve always thought I would read Anna Karenina first; but I got to thinking about W&P and now I’ve got to read it; I ordered a copy, and am not sure what I’ll be reading in the meantime. I’ve started, on a trialish basis, The Once and Future King, which taps so beautifully into scenes like the one above, but that I am not yet committed on fully pursuing; or maybe I should just read short stories until it gets here. I still haven’t finished my Gary Lutz volume but, in some ways, I wonder if his dark beautifully dismal wrecks of words are a good choice for my pandemic mindset. It’s the same reason I picked up and quickly put down Crime and Punishment yesterday: I don’t think I want that kind of bleakness repeatedly put in front of me in these immediately bleak times.

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