And other ancient mysteries.
Just the other day, we were discussing how it might be a good idea for us to pay close attention to the most enduring species, given our current trajectory. And then you showed up, looking like an underwater plant. Spineless, with branching appendages, radial arms, each like a feather. Where did you keep your fists, and how did you get this far without the opposable thumbs we so prized? What about your capacity for reason? Did you even have reasons? Name one, we challenged, but you were silent.
What you did was something else, and we couldn’t look away. You went on and on, catching what drifted before you. What you lost––namely, arms––you regrew. There is something here, we think. About the way you present as a walking plant, hiding in plain sight. We were trying to name it when you moved away. We were surprised by your speed. We wondered about your purpose but had to surface for air.
Then we went inland and sat by the banks of a river, the site of another flood. Being creatures prone to contemplation, we often sat at the edges of water bodies, looking for some way to understand the movement between life and loss. When the waters receded, we would see the crowns of drowned monuments, and these would knock against ancestral bones. And we would think of things to notice. Like how the river must know every stone it touches, and these. They went on, knocking, and we left.
Inspired by feather stars.
Of all your characters, you were most interested in Time, the fifth elemental substance latent in all things. You aimed to chronicle its flow by detailing refractions of brilliance on the river and its bridge, one forever changing and the other reaching toward permanence. You noted symbols in the shadows where one overlapped the other: the river, the bridge, their people; the hope of construction and the tragedy of collapse; the continuance of water and this incomplete permanence in concert with all forms, its eye a chorus.
Inspired by the work of Ivo Andrić (1892-1975), whose birthday is today.
Imagine a world of your dreams, people will say, as if to conjure some vision of attainment, as if this is not the world that stops you in the night to hold you in its grasp, its hot breath in your ear, a ceaseless whisper.
There goes Death again, walking into the sea. Meanwhile the clock tower burns, the sleeper exits through the window, the hermit takes a first step. At an altar, lovers wait. Now comes a covered chair above the river, bodies pulling it in opposite directions. The cloaked rider holds a small flame straight ahead.
It’s a wonder the rider continues. Wouldn’t it be easier to walk than to reconcile these opposites, using nothing but posture, mind, and force of will? But this is how it happens in the world of dreams.
Inspired by an encounter with the surrealist photography of Nicolas Bruno, particularly his Somnia Tarot.