Lost In The Current

December 10, 2009

I just finished reading Jane Alison’s memoir, The Sisters Antipodes. Very good. I find myself drawn to the personal tales of others. It feels somewhat voyeuristic, a bit fly-on-the-wall-ish, and, at best, completely absorbing. Alison writes about the choice her parents made when she was four and the profound affect it has had on her. I can relate to that four year old parents choice thing although our stories are very different. I’m pretty sure I stumbled on this one from the Globe and Mail book review, the source of many a good read. I’ll definitely give some of her others books a try. Here is an excerpt from The Sisters Antipode where she relates how a certain time of day (dusk in her case), or the act of writing, drawing, or connecting with beauty helped lift her when an upward pull was required:

And then there was the painful, pulling beauty of the world itself: the rolling marble sky, the glassy green underside of a wave. This beauty exists nowhere but the current of the air between the object and your eyes, and you dissolve in that current, you become the seeing itself so long as you stand there and give yourself up; it sets you loose from yourself, lets you flow out and be other, and this I wanted most.

This is one of the things I love about reading (actually, about art in general). When that person expresses a way I feel so perfectly. The only difference for me with what Alison wrote in that paragraph is that when I get drawn into that current she describes I feel as if I’m flowing out of and into myself. It’s a complicated feeling for me to describe. In those moments when I am surrounded by the current’s swirl I let go of myself and just am. It’s like being lost, but the opposite of lost, because you’re lost in it. My senses feel alive and I’m connected. Don’t get me wrong, I often feel a certain type of connection daily. But there are the days when I most certainly need to be hoisted out of mysef and gently placed back in again. This is where hitting the trail comes in, or visiting the gallery. Walking, writing, singing… There are many ways to get there “so long as you stand there and give yourself up.”

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