Friday, April 1, 2011
The moors were a dark sea, and I wrapped my cape around my squared shoulders, pulled my cap down over my beetled brow, and stepped deeper into that gloom… hoping against all odds that the driving pelting rain, the cold brutally sheering wind, would somehow destroy that part of my soul that refused to surrender, that malignant growth that had grown so fearsome in its state of advanced decay it had dovetailed and given me wholesome, super numinous strength.
I felt it inside myself, a perfect black orb, shinning, metallic, attracting and repelling the world of objects, and the collision of ideas and sensations inside of my head were rankly abused by its infernal attractions, drawing all that came into its path, into the unwholesome encumbrance of its pull.
What could I do, when everything that came within my grasp eventually found its way into that orbit? What could I do, when my orbit, by necessity of its telos and design, bent and forged those objects until they were something else? My dilemma was not mere solipsism but something far graver in its scope. My mind took from the world and did not reflect itself --- took from the world through a process of hideous distillation, just what it wanted, and that was all. And even then, it was not enough. It needed to fashion the materials until they were indistinguishable from itself.
I did not so much walk out into the moors as the moors walked out into me. Every blade of grass, every granule of gray distinctless English soil struggled in a pitched battle to enter my already crowded psyche. I was crammed to the hilt with experience. Experience sought me out as if my mind had no sensory portals, but was an open funnel. I found myself running over the undulating hills. The rain, a vaporous hail of mist that fell up and down simultaneously was both a soothing tonic and an elixir of excitation.
I would crest a hill, but my legs were unready for the landing, and I would rise, upward, and before I could adjust to it, the hill would descend, and my legs would topple beneath me, and I would stumble free-fall, legs unready for a drop. Then the process repeated itself until I became giddy with the expectation of my own loss of kinetic control.
I ploughed through an oblong puddle of thick mud which pleasantly coated my hands and face. I rolled through it, only to see my way out on the other side to a thorny patch of nettles.
My water logged cape tore and ripped as I struggled to break free of the dense bramble. I rolled again, but instead of freeing myself of the nettles I seemed only to land more deeply in the briar. I could feel my skin rip; I could hear the sound of rip, as if I were being torn along an already existing suture line.
But it was not effective, I broke free, and I was running once again, my cape still on my back, but cut to ribbons, streams of delicious blood pouring down from cuts along my hair line, my neck, my chest, and the ubiquitous rain, drenching, bogging down my run, halting me as if it were quicksilver.
I ran. I ran faster. I drew off reserves I did not know I had. I calculated that I could continue north well into Scotland and perhaps I would just run out of calories… my body would burn fat, then muscle, until nothing was left and I literally fell apart into a distilled jelly that was a running human form one second and then, the next, a shapeless mass, a puddle just beneath the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall.
But I stopped. The swirl of wind and rain, so fearsome, circled around me as if I were the nexus of its concerted action, as if the snug egg of my small human habitation was somehow dreadfully important to the functioning of Nature.
When I cleared my mind of warring thoughts, and I did, I allowed them to just fall away as if I had removed a heavy suit of mail, my discipline dissolved, it was over and the tempest just disintegrated. One moment it was a black swirl of water and wind, the next, complete, deflated silence.
The rolling pitch of the moors stretched out before me, and I could have wept at their utter, stupid simplicity. They were in my mind’s eye --- they were out there, but I could not discern the difference nor did I care. The clouds peeled away at the horizon. The rip slid from the earth up the meridian of the sky and each star twinkled in understated luminosity…
When I heard the wolfhounds I didn’t believe my ears. I cocked my head from side to side to catch subtle variations in their movement. It was too good to be true --- too cinematic in its scope. To have one’s bodily essence shredded by creatures who mirror one’s own undeveloped grainy soul was perfection consummated. It was a honeymoon for my empty soul, a soul that pushed and bubbled against my hulking full, extended body. I could feel that soul essence butting against my ribs, ineffectually pushing on my spine, slouching around my pelvis like a ghostly fetus. Time for a final reckoning.
I could hear them. They surrounded me in the gully. They knew I was there. They could smell me. Any direction I moved I would encounter them. I wanted this awful consummation. For I knew, intuitively, that if I survived this encounter I was doomed. Eternally --- gothically doomed.
I stripped nude. I wanted to give the beasts a sporting chance.
Naked, hulking, absurdly large, all out of proportion to the surrounding scale of nature. I stepped off the small precipice. Red eyes, snarled teeth, a low hiss, the ragged claw over soft homo sapien skin, and the musky odor of hides, dog-breath and warm dripping saliva. I was end over end, jaws in an arm, a leg, back neck… but my integrity was maintained. Almost immediately the venture had failed. All that was broken was my heart. Naked, ripped, yet essentially whole; I wept like a babe.