Waking up is always the hardest, the emergence, like slowly rising from the depths of a stagnant lake. The fog clears, a sinking/choking/undecided space, humiliated by the invasive nature of the air. Heated and left there, thoughts hung out to cry. My pupils used to be numb to the surfaces around me, and even my lungs fell to the gaping hole in my daily observations. Days into weeks–the slippage and undercurrent of a passing city drenched in blank faces. This has been the self-induced sleep of my imaginations, the switching off of bulbs and trinkets, doused by the murky coma of present day.
Dear reader, you can sense that I’m jumbled, yes? I find it hard to stand in my footing after sitting for so long, in the dark, content to just watch the blackness blanketing me. But after running through the night, I’ve finally found the cliff to launch myself from. My apathy has left within the mist. I had forgotten how to talk about the magics in the atmosphere, or perhaps I had completely ceased to see them. Blind and deaf, a wandering veteran of scarring joys. My ecstasies sprinted away with the heat, and slinked in the corners, hovering in wait.
But I am ready to love the stars again–see the crisp excitement in the horrors of the night.
Reader, even you had left me, retreating back to your web. But I’m fine, now. I learned from the dreary and dull; eventually I made out the shapes in the dark. Magic in the earth, magic in my blood. You can remain in the cobwebs between my ribs, love — I can manage breath entangled in them. There’s a cliff to catch in the midnight air, humming to my feet.
I should have been happy: as I had dreamed, I was alone with her, that intimacy with the Moon I had so often envied my cousin and with Mrs Vhd Vhd was now my exclusive prerogative, a month of days and lunar nights stretched uninterrupted before us, the curst of the satellite nourished us with its milk, whose tart flavour was familiar to us, we raised our eyes up, up to the world where we had been born, finally traversed in all its various expanse, explored landscapes no Earth-being had ever seen, or else we contemplated the stars beyond the Moon, big as pieces of fruit, made of light, ripened on the curved branches of the sky, and everything exceeded my most luminous hopes, and yet, and yet, it was, instead, exile.
I thought only of Earth. It was Earth that caused each of us to be that someone he was rather than someone else; up there, wrested from the Earth, it was as if I were no longer that I, nor she that She, for me. I was eager to return to the Earth, and I trembled at the fear of having lost it. The fulfillment of my dream of love had lasted only that instant when we had been united, spinning between Earth and Moon; torn from its earthly soil, my love now knew only this heart-rending nostalgia for what it lacked: a where, a surrounding, a before, an after.
~Italo Calvino, The Distance of the Moon.
Death may be the wildest thing of all, the least tamed or known phenomenon our consciousness has to reckon with. I don’t understand how to meet it, not yet — maybe never. Perhaps (I tell myself), though we deny and abhor and battle death in our society, though we hide it away, it is something so natural, so innate, that when the time comes, our bodies — our whole selves — know exactly how it’s done. All I know right now is that something has stepped toward me, some invisible presence in the woods, one I’ve always sensed and feared and backed away from, called out to in a tentative voice (hello?), trying to scare it off, but which I now must approach. I stumble toward it in dusky conifer light: my own predatory, furred, toothed, clawed angel.
We have no dominion over what the world will do to us, all of us. What the earth will make of our tinkering and abuse can be modeled by computers but is, in the end, beyond our reckoning, our science. Nature is not simply done to. Nature responds. Nature talks back. Nature is willful. We have no dominion over the wild darkness that surrounds us. It is everywhere, under our feet, in the air we breathe, but we know nothing of it. We know more about the universe and the mind of an octopus than we do about death’s true nature. Only that it is terrible and inescapable, and it is wild.
~ Eva Saulitis, Wild Darkness, 2014