Saturday, May 13, 2017

April Reveries

The melancholy of a forgotten bauble left over from Christmas in an abandoned room, the dust covering the sticky side of a half-peeled tape, or photographs on the wall bloating and distorting in these humid afternoons, of your absence chiseling into the air, concave shapes where your laughter used to hang.   Nature seems to be in a state of deep meditation. A hushed, almost frightening glory. It is not the bridal glow of colours and festivity but the austere, intense beauty of nunhood. The elegance of lines rather than colours, of slow marcescence rather than blooms, of echoes and modulations rather than songs.   The way back seem to have grown longer and petal-sprinkled. Shadows are cleaner, sharp, every tendril detailed over the road unlike the soft, smudged shadows of November. This is April - the month of screaming flowers - their loudness etched into the air, stabbing the eye. It is the season of sleepless nights, damp armpits, strange epiphanies, headaches and rotting fruit.   My weary bicycle creaks and crunches over the leaf-clogged ruts. The late afternoon sun turns the road into a silken ribbon, a light so bright that it tugs at my nerves. The quietness intensifies; broken only by the rustling of trees and a leaf-laden wind carrying the spice of April. Everything seem to be suspended in a magnificent pause. Silence swelled, brimmed like a held-back tear. Nature has become diffused and haunting. There is a stark, startling beauty of bare branches clawing the sky. Flowers eagerly wait to be gathered by the arms of the wind and swept up in a delirious gasp before floating down. The sides of the road are stained with a paste of crushed, decaying petals and leaves - a sweet, vegetal stench bringing back memories of a childhood so fleeting before coerced into reluctant adulthood.  I pause to gather the delicate seedpods of a Crape Myrtle tree (I am learning the names of trees), examine a slightly spotty leaf closely. It is the season of seeds, waiting to spawn, sprout and flourish. In the presence of that gently expanding enormity, that intricately connected web of plant life, plant dreams and plant time - I suddenly felt small. My life seemed too sudden, jarring, a rush in a crowded train from birth to death, a snap of the finger or a twig.   I wanted to wander inside this moment for an eternity. I wanted to adore the shape of things -the inner diagram, the core clockwork, the pared-down quintessence of a thing - explore that finest distillate, the pith that remains when everything else is stripped away. I want to examine the secret timbre hidden under a bark, the sigh under a pulse, a twitch under a jaw, the faint whisper resonating from within, the first synapse, perhaps.   Someone whistles, I hear a bike slow down. For a second sheer terror creeps into my heart. The road is rather lonely. I mentally test all possible defences that I have (screaming, imploring or using some kind of Sherlockian mind-game). Thankfully the bike moves away. I take off my shoes and cycle barefoot through the winding paths smothered with dry leaves. One of the loveliest pleasures of life is the feel of wind between ones' toes.  The bicycle squeaks on into the small, uneven mud path and then crosses the enormous water tank where the road becomes tarred again. I put back my shoes there. Bits of my sojourn clung to me for the rest of the day and eventually seeped into my dreams mutating into fantastic beasts and landscapes full of distorted mirrors.   April is the month remembrance. This is my letter to you. The crumbling cathedrals within my ventricles remember prayers of bygone times. A rusty bell chimes and I turn the echoes into hymns. I too have folded up; wrapped in the cloak of nunhood, shedding all festivities, shutting all windows, lowering the lantern for a pared-down existence in quiet despair of you. I have retreated into the hush of my cloister, waiting for you.

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