ou see, I try to hold another, to gain access to another day, to garner something close to my chest.
Imagine a water tower peppered with bullet holes, millions of them, so that when the sun sets, it’s as though orange-peel stars descended on its belly, chatting next to one another. I mean that to fill this tank would be fruitless. The sun shines through it, minutes pass from under it, time has its way with its body—it holds nothing but air, and even air finds the escape-hatch.
And each morning I wake, forgetting that no matter success or failure, each moment is clean, bringing with it no residue of the last or premonition of the next.
I forget the tank is peppered with holes, faulty. I forget that anothers words are fleeting and could change their tone at any moment. I forget, even after I remember, that I cannot fill the day with errands or litter my hours with trophies—if I do, they turn to ash in sleep.
And so I remember the desert, where nothing but Nature was my companion. This companion does not watch you, waiting for you to succeed or fail. It does not linger over your thoughts, trying to conceive a way to hold intelligence over your head. Nature simply is. It moves whether the day was a “success” or not.
I could have placed stones in a pile and said “look at what I have created!” and Nature would not respond but keep moving. If one really notices, Nature does not move forward, but inward and outward, all at once. It radiates because it is and knows how to be only Nature. It does not try to possess or hold, to garner or steal.
Nature is a perfect companion to observe habit. I sat, first, for hours and wrote. I climbed a tree, made a tent when it rained, took a walk and ate when I was hungry. But I was lonely after a day. I grew anxious as it darkened. I had made no plans. I had no one to speak to, nothing but sky and animal eyes. The trees became so human-like I thought I could speak to them. I thought about the ants and whether I could make something from a stone and bark, pieces of string. Leaves speak in patterns to the wind. Still, I had no one to parrot my mind back to me. I had no one to hold and the day was door-less. I had no access or possession of anything but my thoughts.
Nature is full of holes, why should I expect to be any different, any less “broken”? It simply is, though fires burn acres, though rocks fall and become pebbles, though it has nothing but its own bones.
Try and possess it. You can’t. And so the tank cannot be repaired. Days will leave out of the back door while you lie in bed, going over lists and managing fear. Call someone on the phone and link your fear to their fear, look at the chains they make, the lines and distintions you can draw. But the sun shines through the holes just the same.
When I had run out of ideas of things to do while in the desert, I simply watched. Watched things move and shift, watched the sky change hue, the ants form lines. And I suddenly felt as though I was standing in someone else’s living room, asking to be seen. Until I felt in some part of my brain sound:
I see you.
And still, I forget. Each day, I forget that I don’t need to hold another, gain access on the day, garner something to my chest. What am I missing while trying to prove my existence?
The tank is peppered with holes. It cannot be filled. What am I missing, trying to fill it up with deeds, hours, language, trophies, bodies?
I am missing the chance to gaze back at You.
The You that is my continuation, what I lean back and laugh into, filled with joy.