Provocations

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GS and I have been sending each other writing provocations on a daily basis. Here are some snippets, out of context, that I thought I’d share.

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I have been thinking about train journeys. Why are they so romantic? So evocative? Is it because we’re part of a big engine that we can feel? We’re still connected to the earth, unlike when we’re on a plane or a ship, and we’re traveling at great speed?

Where is it going to, this train? What’s its cargo? Where will it stop? At the edge of the earth? Imagine those trains that hug the edge of land, above the choppy seas below, those trains that pierce the clouds and send them scattering, the trains that slice through jungles and mountains, scaring the devils and the gods.

***

Traveling on a plane recently, I wasn’t asleep when I should have been and I looked out and saw the stars in the dark night sky. I had never before thought that while flying, I’d be among the stars. The clouds were below us and the world was quiet. This was a good thing.

Years ago, I was on a train on a dark winter’s evening crossing the countryside. The lights in our carriage went out and suddenly, it felt like we were swooping across the fields, faster than before, invisible like magic. Every little light in the farm houses shone out brighter and warmer. This was a good thing.

I look out my window today and I wonder about what’s out there. Imminent storms, we’re told. Danger is what we should look out for. How does one spot danger?

Two days ago, I was waiting to get on a bus. I saw it approaching, blinked, and suddenly it had driven into a tree. A man stood on the roof of a car to help. How would this help? Two people had to be cut out of the wreck while the top deck was in danger of collapsing.

Danger. Invisible like magic.

***

We cry when we are too full with emotions and too empty of words. The water leaves our body and with it, the poison of hurt in our souls is dissolved and is expelled, but this might take a few sessions of crying.

Sometimes, I give myself the permission to cry before the moment I have to, so that I can get it over with before I carry on with my day. You see, in certain places, it’s seen to be inappropriate to weep or wail or tear at ones hair or to beat at our chests and fall to the ground and to ask, “Why?” repeatedly. “Why? It’s not fair.”

Do you not cry, on your planet? How do you express loss, grief, or extreme happiness? How do you tell someone else that you’re overcome? And if they’re responsible for the sadness, how to you tell them that you want them to stop what they’re doing?

I suppose it’s never a foolproof strategy, crying, to get someone to stop being hurtful. Somehow it tends to engender disgust, shame or scorn which is unfair, don’t you think? You’ve been brave enough to expose your feelings and your courage and hope is often stared at like an ant, through the wrong end of a telescope. Perhaps they are blinding themselves to their own actions.

But there are such wonderful things, we call them friends. Friends are those you feel free with. Friends have always allowed me to cry freely, and then we end up laughing pretty soon after.

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(Let’s end with this one, seeing as we’re approaching the new year:)

A circle which has made me happy is undoubtedly my circle of friends. They are magnificent people: kind, intelligent, thoughtful, generous and full of naughtiness. They are also artists and makers I admire, creating and generating beauty in the world. They add to the sum total of good things in the universe.

I trust my friends to be enquiring, humble, self aware and critical of me. I believe that they will be with me on the dance floor, celebrating music, happiness and goodness with laughter.

A circle goes round and round and has no ending. How lucky I am to have had a beginning with all these people.

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