Shaping my Style:
Of Transience, Melancholy and Morbidity, Pt 1
October 24, 2013
Tool plays quietly in the background…. “I know the pieces fit…”
Echoes of the concert I heard as I pedaled my first Chicago bike along the Lakeshore on my last evening so long ago…
Yesterday plunged me, shivering, into a world of ghosts long-since forgotten. Or at least on some days, that is what I attempt to convince myself.
As the sun set on yet another perfect autumn day in Colorado, children’s laughter wafted into my room on a warm, slight breeze that hinted of the colder temperatures accompanying the setting sun. For a moment, I believe I heard my brother’s laughter…not the stifled, grown-up, cynically tinged one we always adopt as we slip into adulthood, but the free, innocent one that tinkled through the air like glitter rather than shards of broken glass.
Odd, isn’t it, how well composed words and images are able to evoke aural, olfactory, tactile and gustatory memories? As the weather becomes cooler, advertisers inundate us, tempt us, seduce us with images of pumpkin-pie flavored lattes and fallen leaves, reminding us to celebrate the fecundity of life with their brands.
October. The perfect time to be haunted by pungently scented spices composing the images, words and memories of seasons passed.
My father would have been nearing ninety this month, one year from it in fact. I envy his passing thirty two years ago—quick and at the height of his life, old enough to have held his first few grandchildren, young enough to be vibrantly alive, able to have spent his last morning chopping wood for a needy church member.
Have I romanticized his life? Perhaps. Perhaps that is how one most frequently approaches the pain of loss: by evoking and elevating only the best memories of an event, a place, a person who is now seeming to be permanently lost, through whatever means, whether it be death, separation or miles too many to be easily traversed.
It is said ghosts linger in the liminal spaces just beyond human sensual perception, yet a soft breeze, a faint sound, a slight movement may subconsciously set in motion a series of memories, whereby we are able to conjure images of those from whom we have been separated.
Do they exists, these ghosts, or are they merely memories from which we are no longer able to exorcise ourselves?
Either way, today, as I listen to music, attuned to the sounds issuing from my laptop, aware of the warm sunshine beating through the glass window panes and mingling with the even warmer whir of my Mac’s fan, I remain remotely conscious of visual and tactile shadows cast by the cool sienna tile, soft purple blanket, deep blue wall and the rainbow of colors cascading from a nearby print perched on the floor just within my peripheral view.
I wait for the single “ping” indicating a solitary ghost, the one I seek most ardently, is as aware of me as I am of him.
Caught in the Undertow, “This ground is not the rock I thought it to be,” the mermaid screams angrily. Unkissed, unhuman, untransformed, she slips quietly back into the sea, her silvery scales turned to steely resolve…at least for the moment, perhaps for the day.
Time to extract myself from the endless, acrid search for monetary sustenance, remove myself from my eternal, bitter search for lost memories, the realms seemingly, torturously just beyond my grasp.
“Breathe in union…”
Time to lose myself in the sweet, colorful, tactile world of imagination that I myself am able to control, able to create….
“Unholy Baptism” gives way to “Flood”
“Here comes the water.
“All I knew and all I believed
Are crumbling images
That no longer comfort me.
I scramble to reach higher ground,
Some order and sanity,
Or something to comfort me.
“So I take what is mine, and hold what is mine,
Suffocate what is mine, and bury what’s mine.
Soon the water will come
And claim what is mine.
I must leave it behind,
And climb to a new place now.
“This ground is not the rock I thought it to be.
“Thought I was high, and free.
I thought I was there.
“I was wrong.
This changes everything.
“The water is rising up on me.
Thought the Son would come deliver me,
But the truth has come to punish me instead.
“The ground is breaking down right under me.
Cleanse and purge me
In the water.”
“Come, forgive thy people…” The strains of music change, and muted, slow, soft tones of Messiah penetrate my senses.
Lyrics by Tool, 1992