Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Village of No Bells


Village of no bells
Spring evenings
What's to listen for? -Basho

Last night I lay with wide eyes. Staring out into the darkness of my bedroom. I wrap my arms around myself and I remember.

When my friends and I backpacked, months in the freedom and sheer confident joy of journeying without ever really arriving, they used to laugh at me, tease me like only good friends really can. Sleeping on trains, in bus stops, anywhere, clutching my pen and paper. Suddenly waking with the urge to write so pressing...words tumbling out of my sleepy brain through my fingers onto lined school paper. Done. Throw the secret night thoughts on the floor with my glasses and fall back asleep to the clatter and bang of old train wheels turning. This is what they laughed at. That the writing couldn't wait. It was okay with me, I liked that they laughed at my night writing. It showed their intimate knowledge of me. Their acceptance.

I still wake up at night, my mind alive with words and ideas. Poetry dreams that I quickly forget. Words surge through me. Demanding. Entreating. My mind alive with life. Teeming in my head and heart and I have no choice but to get up and do night writing. With a keyboard and a computer screen. Pen and paper long abandoned. The curly haired, hungry-for-life girl on the train, not quite abandoned yet. It is my hope she never will be.

I am not writing now for anyone. So there is no need for any pretense. Nor even humor if I don't feel like it. No need to impress or explain. There is just me. And I am going to write like there's no one reading. Like I did when I scribbled words into notebooks, madly, not always on the lines. Sometimes the words swirled around the page in a circle. No one could have made sense of them but me. Word artist. In love with language.

Last night I lay with wide eyes, staring out into the darkness of my bedroom. I thought about my friends. A sliver of soft pain raced through me. Regret. I don't usually allow myself to miss them. I just don't. But it isn't hardness and it isn't coldness. It's just life.

My more-than-friends. My sisters. The ones with whom it's all honesty and acceptance. I couldn't pretend with them if I tried. They've set the bar high. I've set the bar high too.

I live in a foreign country so I accept that I won't be fifty years old laughing with my best girl friend with whom I've been through everything together because we simply won't have been through everything together. That's okay with me.

I will have to have different sorts of friendships. Maybe I'll be fifty years old and laughing with my "best friends", not because we have been through it all together but because there a depth and an honesty between us, because the friendship isn't based on the transient or superficial or pretense but on something unchangeable.

My spirit knows yours. I would recognize you anywhere. I will recognize you anywhere. In the meantime, I am at peace with this.