Thursday, January 22, 2015

White Snake-Birds (a bit from 'Shelterland 2, a novel of ontology')

Jesse S. Mitchell

Behind the house, the white snake-birds stood cross-legged in the middle of the meadow.  They waited.  They waited for the long black snakes to move from the south side, the dayside, of the meadow to the north side, the evening side.  And if the avian eyes spotted them, a thin soft slither in the grass, between the shaky dandelions and wild weeds, it was death, pecked and pulled, guts and blood, sloughing off the skin.
The sky had grown deadly pink around the edges.
Movement would be necessary.
Life rolls on.
And it seems it all depends upon the bravery of a few serpentkind to do what they do each late afternoon.
And perhaps that is the definition of bravery, the acceptance of the immovable and acknowledgment of the unstoppable.
Warren sat the chair down on the velvety grass, the bare tips, all green and healthy, rubbing their vegetal nuzzles against the whole world.  It tickled the exposed ankles of both of the humans.  Rachael wearing sandals.  Warren wearing socks too short and pants too ill-fitting, leaving a thin slit of unclothed skin.
Oh god, to be alive.  Oh god, to feel movements.  Oh god, to sense.  To experience.
“So, do you come out here to have your deep thoughts.”  Rachael asked as she slipped down and sat in her chair.
Warren just laughed.  He stretched and slowly inched his way into the chair.  Spend a few seconds making himself comfortable and then he just sat there, totally silent.  He squinted his eyes, his face grimaced a bit but mostly it was just blank.
“Something funny?”
“Yeah, I mean, I didn’t mean to laugh.  Sorry, didn’t mean to, um…see, you can’t ever really, um…I don’t think you understand.”
“Understand what?  I just was asking if you come out here in the evenings to have your deep thoughts, to empty your mind?”
“Never empty your mind, especially if you want to think, really think.  No one ever has deep thoughts after they so-called, empty their minds, they only torture themselves. The only things you hear rattling about in your head after you have silenced or exercised the useless noise you populate your mind with, is terrible things, the awful sinful torment, that you collected up the innocuous stuff to cover up in the first place.  Let your head be.  Best not to mess about in there too much and just let the thoughts come what may.”
“Hm.”  she nods slightly, crosses her legs, puts both of hands in her lap, looks far out across the field toward the lake.
“I do wonder…I mean, I do imagine when I am out here, I, um…I have queries, worries.”
“Like what?”
“Who discovered introspection?  Or was it invented?  Seems an invented thing.  But where did it come from?  What manner of madmind ever considered looking backward, deep, long, hard into the troubled psyche?  Who thought it would be a useful or good endeavor, wise, necessary?  It gets difficult to figure out because you see, it would have been no good if it was only one, only one single being that ever…it couldn’t have been just one, it had to be two.  The person who first coiled up inside their own mind, that first set out to discover, had to have someone else to tell.  And that someone else couldn’t have just been there, they had to understand, they had to have some level of comprehension of what this first mental explorer spoke of.  There had to be some sort of communication of ideas.  Advancement and evolution is not a solitary action, at least the advances that stick and make a lasting impression, those have to be not only communicated but also digestible, understandable, and they have to catchy, like a good pop song.  You have to hum to someone else and they have to start singing along, get the melody stuck in their head.”
Warren raised his right hand and pointed to his temple.
“The whole process is extraordinary…and if I may say so, a little bit unbelievable.”
“Why?  Why does it seem so unbelievable to you, Warren?”
“Because, because it isn’t a single action taken by a single person.  That I can appreciate. I see that happening all the time, one person will have a good idea, one person will live a good life, a private action, an isolated event of higher existence.  But the flowing, movable, communicating, reciprocal motion of evolution is impossible.  You will never see it happening.  It is unwitnessable.  Can’t be seen, like the first few days of a fertilized egg in the womb.  You have to take the great ladder climb of humanity and all of the world on faith.  I don’t do faith.  I don’t accept that esoteric action.”
“Well, what do you propose?”
“Nothing.  Nothing yet but, you see, I’m looking.  I’m out here, and I’m looking and I’m waiting.  And eventually, eventually we will see.  I’m out here and I’m out there and I’m on the internet and I’m reading books and  never wasting a minute and eventually we will see.”
“And you really believe that?”
“I do.”
Rachael chuckled, “So, you are sure you’ll have it all figured out before this short life will be over?”
“Yeah, I do.  I have most of it already.  I have most of it figured out.”
“Really?  But doesn’t seem like a waste a little bit, Warren?  Don’t you think you should just be living life?  Shouldn’t a person just enjoy their precious life?”
“Oh, absolutely! I absolutely believe that, but me…my life, this is how I enjoy my life.  You see, everything else has been taken away…”  Warren stopped, choked up a bit, but did a good job covering it up, “from me, um, from me, yeah see, I don’t have the distraction some folks have, the noisy noisy life.  My time on this planet is quiet, good and quiet.  All that distant planetary noise is millions of miles away and already dead by the time it gets to me, long gone.  I’m fine.  This is how I live a full life.  Everything has been ironed out for me, smoothed down.”

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