Dear Meat Space #1,
I'm writing you because it seems only fair. I am always writing about you, talking to you, but my efforts to hear from you have been arduous.
I would like to know if you feel liberated or confined by my apparent obsession with visiting you, standing around, investigating you, and keeping you encircled with ochre yarn.
thank you kindly,
F.O.O.L. (Fleshy Outsider Orbiting Lovingly)
P.S. Please write back soon.
I am a self-confessed OSHO Zen Tarot junkie. I mean--I have had this deck for a decade and a half and I use it almost twice a week. It is my touch stone.
Last night I drew a major arcana card in the last position of the Celtic Cross. It was, in this deck, COURAGE, and it showed a pair of wobbly wild flowers emerging from a crack in a rock.
it kind of terrified me, but I'm overdramatic I suppose. Here is spring, knocking down every door. In my nest-cage, Bethany has aptly gotten me calling it thus, the Magnolia Stellata has burst forth its starry blooms with no holding back. This tree is NOT saving for tomorrow. No; go see for yourself. Map is over there in my tiny awkward-looking side bar of the blog.
"My" magnolia stellata could be seen as dying, as much as living, she's giving so much out. What a whore! What a hooker! What a slut!! Yes-- she's really putting out. And I find it kind of creepy. Everyone seems to think spring is so dang cute, as though it were designed for children, as though it were G-rated.
HELLO IT IS NOT. It has me looking over my shoulder and between my toes. Do I dare to see in myself that magnolia's doppelganger? WHAT OPENING MUST I MAKE WAY FOR? AND YOU WANT ME TO RELAX ABOUT THIS??
What does this have to do with MEAT SPACE DIARIES 2/3? Nothing. Oh, nothing at all, officer.
I read a beautiful quote from Teju Cole today, from her New York Times Magazine photography essay on objects...
"Objects have the longest memories of all; beneath their stillness they are alive with the terrors they have witnessed."
I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. In that instant I immediately began to think differently about the "walls" of my nest cage AND of all the walls, real or metaphorical, that hold life prisoner.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is, I think, to be able to work without knowing exactly what you are doing.
I was astonished to discover several things, which I wouldn't have noticed had I been in that other frame of mind which is as useful but different, namely the goal-tending frame of mind.
I noticed a very direct connection down through my feet to the earth. No biggie. That's obvious. But what was interesting was how these connections became perch-points, very brief but very meaningful. I noticed also that sight-line was more a part of my kinesthetic sense than I can remember it ever being before. If you have performed site-specific work in an enormous setting, then you get that chance to see the far horizon as part of your movement. But in the theatre and in old victorian mansions and in the dark under an overpass, sight plays a very different role than it does in my nest-cage in the middle of a well-traversed thoroughfare.
A man strolled by strumming his guitar. doesn't happen often on belvedere. A pack of young boys on bicycles. And tons of the usual car traffic. The fact of being so visible.
Today I rode my bike to the nest and found her in need of repair. I did this as gently as possible. And I couldn't help thinking of the work wild animals must do to find suitable spaces for the creation of shelter, then to maintain them despite everything. Mine is only a kind of play pen. It had taken a beating in the freeze and the thaw, and I delicately unburied strands and since they weren't reattachable, I used sticks to anchor them where I thought they wanted to be. More later, my puppy is getting wild with her dinner-time hunger and must be satisfied!
Here's a new challenge for micro-adventuring creative and working-stiffs alike: at six o'clock in whatever time zone you inhabit, take six steps straight out of the back door at home or at work, turn right, take three more, and take in this whole, brave new world with fresh perspective. For extra credit, sit and stay a while. Call it a smoke break if you have to; call it post-meal flatulence. Or don't call it at all; just show up. And note, for yourself, what rose to meet you where you were.
Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer who has traveled the globe but recently confronted the adventure of bringing his mentality of risk-taking and exploration into a smaller scale. I'm charmed... he has people all over the world venturing out in the time zone between "5 and 9," and the only rule is, you gotta sleep outside. Adventure, indeed, is beckoning from all around us, from our very lives. Working stiffs like you and me are hiking out to their backyards and spotting owls, or taking the long way to their neighbor's house through the thicket, or what was once a thicket and is now a 24/7 shop, a parking lot, and a patch of daffodils.
I bring him up because he is commenting richly on the question of 'scale,' 'scope,' 'range'.... I find that at times, a narrower loop, a smaller room at the hostel, a 25 page versus 300 page journal... can bring out the mightiest in me and in others.
How can we travel inside the adventure of our lives?
With my meat space nest now a mile and a third away from my current habitat, I feel a bunch of slack in the line, and I'm yearning for a snugger fit. I am practicing but loose. The air around me lacks a certain compactness and viscosity. I am also bending the rules to the point of breaking.
It's fodder if I let it be; if I choose to use it that way.
Erin D.H. Williams sent me a couple of her sketches that she harvested from time spent with her "nest." I think they are as beautiful as a thing can be. And I think they open spaces for questions. Like her I am experiencing the line quality of my designated space in playful, supportive, surprising ways.
This one is less playful and more intense. I have also felt this aspect of my space. I am curious if the up and down lines evoke Erin's sense of her own kinesphere when she's in that ring, or the range she could potentially make use of. But there's so much more here. The ghostly little witness on the left. and the whoosh cutting through the center of the nest like a highway, full of velocity.
I'd like to note that I am NOT getting into my space every day for 10 breaths as I'd set out to do. I am getting in more frequently though, and I am finding myself incredibly touched. It is a bit as though I had tagged a wild animal whom I can now spot, going about and doing her thing without her being aware that I am witnessing. Do you know, or can you imagine, that feeling? You build a secret, one-way bond.